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How much does a helicopter cost? If you have always wanted to own a helicopter you will have asked yourself this question. We will reveal all in this post.

How Much Does A Helicopter Cost? AeroController

 

Introduction

A lot of people ask us “how much does it cost to buy a helicopter?” and some will say that if you have to ask this question then you cannot afford it. You will often see owning a helicopter compared to owning an Italian supercar or a fancy boat. But we disagree with this.

You can find a well cared for and maintained second-hand helicopter for only around $100,000. At the top end of the scale, a new corporate helicopter with 7 seats and all the bells and whistles will cost you millions.

So to correctly answer the question “how much does a private helicopter cost?” it depends on what you are looking for. You should consider the purchase of your helicopter as an investment – a very good investment that will serve you well for years to come.

Several things will affect the cost of a private helicopter including:

  • Do you want a single or twin-engine helicopter?
  • The manufacturer of the helicopter
  • The year of manufacture
  • The history of the helicopter
  • The level of equipment that you require
  • How many seats do you want in your helicopter?

This is by no means a definitive list. You have the choice of several different helicopter manufacturers and specifications. We will provide you with tips and advice to help you decide on what you want later in this post so stay tuned.

Here is a list of some of the most popular helicopters available today and an estimated cost for each one:

Helicopter Model

Estimated Price New

Robinson R-22

$328,200

Robinson R-44

$505,900

Robinson R-66

$935,900

Bell 206

$1,000,000

Bell 407

$3,100,000

These are new prices for these helicopter models. There are some real bargains if you search the second-hand market and we have some excellent examples at AeroController™ that you can see here. Great condition Robinson and Bell helicopter models are available at a fraction of the new prices. We will take a look at these fine helicopters in more detail below.

How Much Does A Helicopter Cost – Comparison Of Popular Models

The first thing that you need to know is that when you compare helicopters with airplanes they will cost more on a seat comparison basis. But a helicopter offers you a lot more flexibility such as:

  • The ability to take off and land without a runway unlike fixed-wing aircraft
  • The ability to fly low
  • The ability to fly slowly
  • Increased speed over long distances compared to road travel
  • The ability to access remote areas

There are more moving parts in a helicopter than an airplane which is the primary reason why they are more expensive. These additional moving parts are essential for the flexible operation and safety of the helicopter. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular types of private helicopter available:

Robinson R22 Helicopters

RobinsonR22Helicopter

The Robinson brand of helicopters is extremely popular now as they are renowned for their lower prices and lower running costs. The company began production of its R22 model back in 1979. There have been over 4,600 R22 helicopters made since then and it is still going strong today.

The original intention of the Robinson R22 was as a commuter helicopter. Interestingly, it is used as a training helicopter extensively. The R22 has a light design that includes the rotor system. This small helicopter is a two-seater aircraft.

You will find that the cockpit of the R22 is fine for accommodating two people of average size. The view from the cockpit is excellent thanks to the Plexiglas bubble that surrounds it. The instrument stack sits in the middle of the cockpit and does not obstruct your view.

To improve the view of the R22 even further you can fly without the doors as they are easy to remove. It is a wonderful feeling to do this as you almost feel as if you are hanging out of your helicopter.

The cyclic of the R22 is different from most other helicopters. A T-bar design makes it easier for people to get in and out of this small helicopter. When you are sitting in the R22 you will have the cyclic between you and the other occupant.

One of the most impressive things about the Robinson R22 is its lightweight structure. The power comes from a four-cylinder, carbureted, piston engine and you can find the engine beneath the two fuel tanks which are located behind the passenger seats.

The R22 has an aluminum skin covering a light steel tube frame. Fiberglass construction makes the cockpit light. Rotor blades are light too using a honeycomb structure made from aluminum.

Maintaining the Robinson R22 is simpler than a lot of other helicopters because of its design. It is really easy to access the components that require servicing. You must conduct a complete overhaul of the R22 at 12-year intervals or 2,200 flying hours whichever comes first.

There are several variants of the Robinson R22:

  • R22 – the original model
  • R22 HP
  • R22 Alpha
  • R22 Beta
  • R22 Beta II – very popular

All of these types had different versions of the 4 cylinder piston engine. You can find the most powerful engine in the R22 Beta II which explains its popularity.

It is a real joy to fly a Robinson R22 helicopter. The lightweight and powerful 4 cylinder engine make it very responsive unlike some of the larger, turbine-based helicopters. The top speed is around 102 knots so it is not the fastest out there but it is fun. You can land an R22 almost anywhere thanks to its length of around 28 feet.

How much does a 2 seater helicopter cost like the Robinson R22? You need to budget around $330,000 if you want to purchase a new one. In the used market you can find good examples available for less than half this price.

Here are some fine examples of Robinson R22 helicopters for sale.

Robinson R44 Helicopters

RobinsonR44Helicopter

The Robinson R44 is a development on the R22. The engine is larger and there is room for 4 passengers. Rotor blades are larger on the R44 and the controls hydraulically assisted for improved handling and safety.

When it comes to private ownership, the Robinson R44 is the most popular helicopter in the world. It offers a great deal for the price and is very reliable and requires hardly any maintenance.

Although the R44 is heavier than the R22 it is still a lightweight helicopter. The Raven I model weighs in at around 2,400 pounds and the Raven II is approximately 2,500 pounds. An R44 is still very responsive compared to heavier helicopters that have large turbine engines. But it is also heavy enough to ride solidly through turbulence and wind gusts.

Maintenance is really simple with the R44. You will not need to service anything, apart from oil changes, between the recommended 100 flying hour inspections. As with the R22, you will need a complete overhaul of your R44 every 2,200 hours or 12 years whichever happens soonest.

Safety is better on the R44 than the R22. The rotor system has higher inertia and the extra weight makes it more stable during turbulence and those wind gusts. Additional inertia means that if there was an engine failure then you will have a few additional seconds to make the right decisions.

Robinson offers two types of R44 which are the Raven I and Raven II. The main difference between these two models is that the Raven I has a carbureted Lycoming engine and the Raven II has fuel injection.

For a new Raven II, you will pay around $70,000 more than for a Raven I. But you will get a better fuel burn when cruising with the Raven II of 15 gallons for every flight hour as opposed to 14 gallons with the Raven I. The high altitude performance of the R44 Raven II is superior to the Raven I as well.

You will find the upright seating in the R44 very comfortable. There is comfortable seat padding which you will notice immediately to make your journey more enjoyable. You will certainly hear the noise that the R44 makes in flight but it is better than some high priced turbine engine helicopters.

If you are looking for a fancy instrument panel then you will not find this with a Robinson R44. You will find all the basics covered though with the following instruments:

  • Airspeed
  • Altimeter
  • Engine/rotor tachometer
  • Vertical speed
  • Manifold pressure
  • Oil pressure/temperature
  • Cylinder head temperature

Everything is clear and simple. How much does a Robinson R44 cost? Expect to pay more than $500,000 for a new one. And quite a bit less for a used one dependent on age, condition, and flight hours.

Here are some fine examples of Robinson R44 helicopters for sale.

Robinson R66 Helicopters

RobinsonR66Helicopter

Robinson announced the launch of its R66, turbine-powered helicopter in 2010. The R66 takes a lot of its development from the successful R44 model. By the end of 2015, Robinson had sold around 700 R66 helicopters.

The turbine engine is lighter than the piston engine found in the R44 Raven II by some 200 pounds. Rotor blade disc area is the same as on the R44 but the chord is wider by some 1.5 inches. Tail rotor blades on the R66 are longer than the R44 by approximately 2 inches and again the chord is slightly wider.

Starting an R66 is not that much different from an R44. You will see an “enable” switch that will arm the igniters and once you have the master switch on as well as the beacon probe you are ready to start.

It is as much fun to fly the Robinson R66 as it is the R44 and R22. The R66 is a bit faster than the R44 and it is not difficult to achieve 130 knots with high cruise settings which will provide a fuel burn of around 20 gallons per flight hour.

As with all Robinson helicopters, maintenance is pretty easy. You can easily see and access all of the components of the R66 engine. The Robinson R66 is a very impressive helicopter at a good price point.

Here are some fine examples of Robinson R66 helicopters for sale.

Bell 206 Helicopters

Bell206Helicopter

The Bell company has manufactured helicopters for a long time. The 206 model has two blades and is available with either a single-engine or twin engines. Nowadays the Jet Ranger III is a very popular model. It has a single turbine engine and we would describe it as a “no-frills” dependable helicopter.

The Bell 206 Jet Ranger model has sold very well for good reason. It is a helicopter built to go the distance and it has broken several records for flying long distances. A simple design is fundamental to the success of this helicopter. If you are looking for reliability then there are not many out there that can match it.

Bell has created a powerful helicopter that has an impressive fuel burn rate. On a cruise flight, it is very possible to achieve 26 gallons per flight hour from a 206. The tank holds around 91 gallons so there is plenty in reserve.

How much does a used helicopter cost? Well, you should be able to pick up a good condition Jet Ranger that’s around 10 years old for around the $500,000 mark. When you consider that a new one will set you back double this amount it is well worth looking at the used market.

Safety is of prime importance to the Bell helicopter company. Of all of the major single turbine engine helicopters on the market, the 206 Jet Ranger has the lowest accident rate overall.

You will see many variations of the Bell 206 around. If you are looking for a reliable passenger helicopter with a good reputation for safety then it is hard to look past the 206. It’s not the fastest helicopter out there but it does everything well. Many countries use the 206 including law enforcement agencies. Low maintenance and reliability are the name of the game here.

How much does a Bell helicopter cost such as the 206? A new Bell 206 will be around the $1 million mark. There are lots of bargains in the used market that cost considerably less.

Here are some fine examples of Bell 206 helicopters for sale.

Bell 407 Helicopters

Bell407Helicopter

Many classic helicopters are developments from previous models and the Bell 407 is derived from the 206L-3 Long Ranger. The 407 has four blades and is pretty lightweight thanks to its carbon fiber panels.

Since its launch in the 1990s, the 407 has proved to be a popular choice all around the world. It is a very versatile passenger helicopter which can accommodate the pilot and 6 passengers in comfort. One of the best things about the Bell 407 is its durability. This helicopter will get you where you want to go whatever the flying conditions.

The 407 has a single turbine engine from Rolls Royce that develops 700 horsepower. It is not only remarkable that the 407 can climb higher than other helicopters with single engines, but it performs better than some well-known twin-engine crafts.

There is more room in the cabin of the 407 than the 206 Long Ranger. Bell widened the cabin by eight inches to make things more comfortable for passengers. The ride is a lot smoother in the 407 as well thanks to the four-blade system.

Over the years there have been few changes to the 407 unlike with other helicopter models. The latest version is the 407 GXi which has an enhanced flight deck system. Owners of 407’s have tended to make improvements to their helicopters by bolting “add ons” to them and the flight deck avionics was a popular upgrade.

You will see several used Bell 407 helicopters on the market, some dating back to the 1990s because they are so robust and reliable. Some of these will have expensive upgrades and with a new 407 priced at over $3 million, there are opportunities to save a lot of money and still end up with a great passenger helicopter.

So how much does a Bell 407 helicopter cost? If you want to go for a new one then you are looking at more than $3 million. To pay significantly less you need to take a look at the used market.

Here are some fine examples of Bell 407 helicopters for sale.

How Much Does A Helicopter Cost – Buying Considerations

You need to purchase the right helicopter to suit your situation. If you are a pilot and intend to fly the helicopter yourself then you may prefer the mid-range crafts that have better handling. To fly the larger helicopters you will need quite a lot of flying experience.

You need to determine a budget for your helicopter purchase. Do you want to buy new or used? With a definite budget in mind, it will help to narrow down the choices that you have. When you are determining your budget you must factor in the cost of maintenance.

The maintenance costs for some of the smaller helicopters can turn out to be higher than for the larger crafts over the long term. Other financial factors to take into account include:

  • Depreciation
  • Insurance cost
  • Initial capital investment
  • Storage costs

The distance that you intend to travel in your helicopter is also something that you need to consider. Smaller helicopters have limited fuel capacity and therefore restrict travel distances. Do you want to carry passengers or are you happy with a two-seater helicopter?

What will be the main use of the helicopter? If it is to just get you from one place to another then you do not need a lot of refinements. A corporate helicopter designed to carry passengers will have a degree of luxury that you will require additional maintenance (such as cleaning carpets etc).

You can find passenger helicopters that have leather seats and cabins separated from the cockpit for example. All of this is going to add to the purchase price of the craft. A popular trend nowadays is to have twin leather stitching on the seats of passenger helicopters.

If you want to buy a used helicopter then check the flying hours and the service record. There are certainly some bargains out there in the used market with helicopters that are only a few years old and with very few flight hours available at half the price of a new model.

Helicopters are all about freedom. Advances in technology have resulted in quieter engines with advanced cockpits to minimize pilot distraction. We hope that you have enjoyed this post on how much does a helicopter cost and that it made you even more determined to purchase a helicopter.

You can see some of the finest helicopters available across the world at AeroController™. If you have any questions please contact us and we will be delighted to help you. We have more than 2,000 active listings and have been your aviation classifieds marketplace since 2008.

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