How Much Does a Helicopter Cost? A Detailed Look at Helicopter Prices

Eurocopter 135 Fighter Helicopter Sikorsky Helicopter Modern Helicopter

Have you ever looked up at a helicopter flying overhead and wondered How Much Does a Helicopter Cost? Helicopters are amazing machines that can do incredible things, like land on top of buildings or hover in place.

But all that advanced technology comes at a price. Just how much does a helicopter cost? Let’s take a closer look!

What Factors Affect the Cost of a Helicopter?

How Much Does a Helicopter Cost
How Much Does a Helicopter Cost

Several key factors determine the price of a helicopter:

Size and Capabilities

In general, larger helicopters with more capabilities will be more expensive. Small 2-4-seat helicopters can cost a few hundred thousand dollars. While heavy-duty transport or attack helicopters can cost tens of millions!

New vs Used

A brand new helicopter right out of the factory will be much more expensive than a used model. New helicopters can have the latest technology but used ones are more affordable.

Helicopter Maker

Major companies like Bell, Airbus, and Sikorsky build high-quality helicopters. But smaller manufacturers offer cheaper options. The brand name matters when it comes to price.

Optional Features

Fancy add-ons like luxury interiors, autopilot systems, and specialized equipment will drive up the cost. A stripped no-frills helicopter is cheaper.

Now let’s look at some average helicopter prices depending on their purpose and capabilities.

Private helicopter Price list Cost

Many private owners and businesses need a basic helicopter for transport and other civilian uses. These lightweight helicopters usually seat 1-5 passengers. Private helicopters are good and less expensive than Private Planes.

Two-Seater Light Helicopters

The Robinson R22 is a popular two-seat, single-engine model often used for flight training. A new R22 costs $300,000 to $350,000. Used R22s can cost as little as $150,000.

Other small entry-level helicopters like the Bell 206B JetRanger fall in the $500,000 to $1 million range.

Four-Five Seater Midsize Helicopters

Moving up in size, midsize civilian helicopters like the Bell 429 carry 4 to 5 passengers. New 429s cost around $6 million. Used 429s sell for $4-$5 million.

Other similar midsize models like the Airbus H130 cost $3-$4 million and the Leonardo AW109 costs around $3 million.

How Much Do Police and Emergency Helicopters Cost?

Police and Emergency Helicopters
Police and Emergency Helicopters

Helicopters are a vital tool for law enforcement and emergency responders. Here are the typical costs for police and EMT helicopters:

  • Police Helicopters – Many police forces use light helicopters like the Bell 206 series, which retail for $700,000 to $1.5 million. Larger models like the Airbus H120 and Bell 407 cost $2 to $4 million.
  • Emergency Medical Helicopters – Helicopters equipped for medical evacuations are more expensive. For example, an Airbus H135 fitted for MEDEVAC runs $6-$10 million.
  • Firefighting Helicopters – Helicopters configured with water tanks and fire retardant systems range from $2 million for smaller models up to $30 million for heavy-duty sky-crane helicopters.

Government agencies can save money by buying used helicopters. Surplus military helicopters are also sometimes available for police and fire departments.

What Is the Cost of a News or TV Helicopter?

Those TV news helicopters buzzing over traffic or big events are typically midsize twin-engine models seating 5-7 people. Prices run from $2 million for pre-owned models to $5 million or more for new helicopters direct from the manufacturer.

Popular news helicopter models:

  • Bell 206L – $2-3 million
  • Airbus AS350 – $3-5 million
  • Bell 407 – $3-4 million

With special TV broadcasting equipment installed, a full news helicopter setup can cost $5-$10 million!

How Much Do Private and Corporate Helicopters Cost?

Wealthy individuals and corporations use helicopters as business transportation and private luxury aircraft. Let’s look at some of the most popular luxury helicopter models and their multi-million dollar price tags!

Medium VIP Helicopters

Midsize corporate helicopters carry 6 to 8 passengers in comfort. Luxury upgrades are standard.

  • Bell 429 – $6-$7 million
  • Airbus H135 – $6-$8 million
  • AgustaWestland AW109 – $7-$8 million

Large VIP Helicopters

For bigger groups, plusher interiors and trans-continental range, large luxury helicopters like these are options:

  • Sikorsky S-76 – $12-$15 million
  • Bell 430 – $10-$14 million
  • AgustaWestland AW139 – $10-$14 million

Executive Mega-Helicopters

The biggest VIP helicopters can carry up to 20 passengers across continents in first-class style. Think private flying penthouse!

  • Sikorsky S-92 – $15-$20 million
  • Bell 525 Relentless – $20-$25 million
  • Airbus H175 – $16-$22 million

What Is the Cost of Military Helicopters?

Now we get to the heavy hitters – helicopters built for combat, search and rescue, and other complex military missions. High-tech militarized helicopters range from around $10 million up to $40 million each for top-of-the-line models.

Here are some examples:

  • Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk – $21 million
  • Boeing CH-47 Chinook – $35 million
  • Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey – $70 million
  • Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion – $87 million

Advanced military helicopters equipped with armor, defense systems, specialized tech, and weapons can cost $200 million or more!

How much does a helicopter Cost Per hour?

The purchase price is just the beginning! Owning a helicopter also means paying for fuel, maintenance, storage, insurance, and pilot salaries.

Operating costs quickly add up to $200 to $2000+ per flight hour depending on the helicopter’s size and features.

Some typical helicopter costs per hour:

  • Small helicopter – $200-$500/hour
  • Medium helicopter – $500-$1000/hour
  • Large helicopter – $1000-$2000+/hour

So even a short 30-minute helicopter flight can easily cost $1000 or more!

Is Buying a Helicopter a Good Investment?

With their high price tags and operating costs, helicopters may seem like an extravagant purchase only practical for the super-wealthy. However many businesses find helicopters to be worthwhile investments.

Companies like tour operators, law enforcement units, medical providers, offshore oil drillers, and news organizations put helicopters to frequent productive use. For these operators, helicopters provide capabilities that improve efficiency and ultimately generate revenue that justifies the expense.

For private individuals, owning a helicopter is purely a luxury purchase similar to buying a yacht or vacation home. But it’s an amazing experience being able to zip above traffic jams in your helicopter!

The Bottom Line – How Much Does a Helicopter Cost?

Helicopters range from around $100,000 for simple small training choppers up to $20 million+ for the largest luxury executive models. But the purchase price is just one part of owning a helicopter. Hourly operating costs are also very high.

While helicopters are major investments, many individuals, businesses, and government agencies find the capabilities and benefits to make the expense worthwhile!

So next time you see a helicopter flying by, you’ll know much more about what it takes to own and operate one of those amazing flying machines!