How Much Do Helicopters Cost?

Helicopter AW109 Grand
Helicopter AW109 Grand

Have you ever thought about the cost of a helicopter? I’ve been there too. I’m pretty sure many people have had questions about the price of a helicopter. I decided to conduct some research and then write this article to give readers an accurate estimate of the cost of the most popular and common helicopter models. I’m going to start with the price of a low-end, basic helicopter and then move up to the most expensive and advanced helicopters.

The price of a helicopter can range from $250,000 to $30,000,000 for civilian helicopters and up to 100 million dollars for military helicopters.

An example of a cheap civil helicopter is the Robinson R-22 which costs $250,000, and the extremely luxurious Airbus H-225 Super Puma would be on the opposite side of the spectrum at 30 million dollars.

In general, the first thing you need to consider when considering the price of a helicopter is whether you’re looking for a desirable two-seater model or a bigger one that can accommodate more passengers. The biggest manufacturer of single-seaters helicopters is Robinson Helicopters. Robinson helicopters are today renowned for their lower cost to operate and purchase.

How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Helicopter?

Apart from the cost of actually buying the helicopter, there is still the issue of maintaining the chopper. Things such as insurance, expenses, or fuel are the main things to consider while buying a helicopter. Below is a breakdown of the costs of a helicopter.

Insurance

Insuring a helicopter is not cheap. There aren’t many helicopter owners, so the insurance premiums are very high. Also, there aren’t a lot of companies ready to insure your helicopter.

A general liability insurance policy for a small helicopter that protects third-party personal injuries and property damage costs from $80 to $120 per month.

You may also need to take extra insurance options such as passenger insurance or protection, which will only make this number bigger.

Maintenance and inspections (Must-have)

Like insurance, there isn’t much competition regarding companies that can maintain and inspect your chopper.

This is an operating cost that you can’t elude or be shy about it. A poorly maintained helicopter can cause terrible accidents, even catastrophic ones. Each manufacturer will ask you to maintain and inspect your helicopter after a set of flying hours.

This cost is one of the most expensive ones. It can go up to the thousands per year.

Fuel

This is a direct cost. If you want to fly, you need fuel in your helicopter. This is directly impacted by the type of helicopter you buy. A smaller one will use less fuel than a bigger one.

There are mainly two fuel types: aviation gasoline for piston helicopters and aviation turbine fuel for turbine-powered ones. The cheaper option is Aviation Turbine Fuel.

You should budget around $100 to $200 per flight.

Hangar Storage Cost

Where will you keep your helicopter? In your backyard? This may come as a surprise for you, but you have to keep your helicopter in either a hangar, heliport, or helistop.

If you want to build your helicopter hangar, you will have to pay a lot. Before starting the construction, you need to check with your council and agree to the codes for clearance.

To rent a hangar for a helicopter can go up to $200 per month for a small helicopter or even more than $1000 for a bigger one.

Private Pilot and Crew Salary

You need a pilot and a crew if your helicopter is big enough. To “rent” a pilot can be quite expensive. It can range from $1000 to $2000 per flight, depending on your flying region and the pilot.

Cost Of Most Popular Helicopters

Bell 407

Bell 407 is a 4-blade single-engine helicopter for civilians most often used for rescue or utility services.

There are a variety of variations as well as sub-variants of this helicopter; however, the base model is priced at an initial price of $2.7 million.

Eurocopter EC135

The EC135 is a four-blade twin-engine helicopter developed by Airbus.

The EC 135 is used mostly to assist civilians in evacuating people in emergency situations; however, it could also be employed for military use. The Eurocopter EC135 has a price of $3 million.

AgustaWestland AW109

The AgustaWestland twin-engine helicopter is a lightweight helicopter with 8 seats for passengers. The price of an AgustaWestland AW109 is $9 million.

It was designed by the Italian maker Leonardo S.p.A and developed as a multi-purpose plane; however, nowadays, it’s predominantly used for civil purposes.

Rent or Buy a Helicopter (Cost basis)

An hour of a crewless helicopter (without a pilot) will cost you around $300 per hour for a small helicopter. If you plan to have a bigger helicopter, this can go up to more than $4000 per hour. This is very variable depending on the area you are flying in. For example, flying in New York is different from a remote area in Arizona.

If you do not plan to fly often, I recommend you rent a helicopter every time you need a flight. It is cheaper in the short run if you do not regularly fly as you will not need to cover the maintenance costs.

I would only recommend buying a helicopter if you are a regular flyer or you need to have a helicopter on short notice to be ready.

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