Helicopters are more expensive than planes because of the extra complexity they provide. The rotors are the first component to consider, as they are more complex and must comply with stringent safety rules.
When you buy a helicopter once, you’ll pay the same amount every time you want to fly in one. Helicopters have a greater crash rate than private planes, so insurance premiums are often exorbitant, and that’s before you take in the expensive expenditures of maintenance and fuel. To reach the clouds, though, is worth the effort.
Whether or not you should buy a helicopter is not a question I can help you with. You could buy one of these rotorcraft, but only if you had the necessary funds.
As a result of developments like lighter helicopters and do-it-yourself kits, the overall cost of helicopters has decreased. Having fewer seats and a smaller footprint will reduce the machine’s price. Kit helicopters and fully assembled models are both included. Although some of them are military planes, most of them are commercial airlines.
Eurocopter EC120 – ($1.4 million)
With the exception of the AS350/H125, Eurocopter is not widely known for producing affordable helicopters. In spite of this, the EC120 Colibri is among the most reasonably priced helicopters available!
The Lama and Gazelle helicopter families were getting old, and Aérospatiale learned that a replacement was not likely in the late 1980s. Thus, a brand-new five-seat utility helicopter named the P120 made its debut. By the 1990s, Airbus had absorbed Aérospatiale, resulting in the creation of Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). To start out strong, the P120 was renamed the EC120 and released.
The EC120 could go 727 km (452 mi) at a speed of 191 kph (119 mph). In an effort to boost sales, Eurocopter has set the EC120’s price at $1.4 million!
AgustaWestland AW009 – ($1.3 million)
The AW009 was initially used by the Polish Air Force as the PZL SW-4. Due to AgustaWestland’s acquisition of PZL in 2016, the SW-4 was renamed the AW009 for the commercial market.
Similar to how successfully the SW-4 has performed as a military chopper, the modified AW009 has been a very successful commercial helicopter. The AW009 is used by many of the few news crews still use helicopters.
This is in part because the AW009 is one of the most cost-effective helicopters available. Its $1.3 million purchase price and $200 per hour operating cost make it the ideal choice for journalistic organizations and aviation schools.
In addition to all of this, AW009 has a top speed of 260 kph (161 mph) and a range of 790 km (490 mi). As a result, it has emerged as the favored mode of VIP transportation.
MD 500E – ($1.1 million)
McDonnell Douglas is better recognized for its airliners than its helicopters, which are less well-known (like the DC-10 and MD-11). They nevertheless developed the MD 500, one of the most reasonably priced helicopters ever.
The MD 500 was initially created by Hughes Aircraft Company as a small surveillance helicopter. The MD 500 was effective in this endeavor because it was substantially more dependable and inexpensive than its competitors. McDonnell Douglas’ bid seemed too low, given their inability to make a profit on the helicopter and repeated cost overruns. As a result, the US Army decreased its order.
Instead, many media outlets and police departments bought the MD 500 because of its fast speed, high service ceiling, and exceptional range. Additionally, they purchased it since it cost $1.1 million and had room for five people, including a pilot.
Bell 505 Jet Range X – ($1.07 million)
I would choose the Bell 505 if I had the means and the power to command any of the helicopters featured in the article. Due to its features and the fact that it is one of the most reasonably priced helicopters on the planet.
In the early 2010s, Bell discovered that several of its light helicopters were getting old and needed replacements right away. Bell built just one light helicopter as opposed to many more to replace the many others.
Depending on the intended usage of the helicopter, the factory can modify it to meet your requirements. In order to carry out these duties, Bell designed it to fly at 232 kph (144 mph) at a range of 617 km (383 mi).
The Bell 505 is also one of the heaviest helicopters in the world, weighing in at 2,030 lbs (4,475 Kg) when carrying two tonnes of cargo or four people. In order to boost sales, Bell only charges $1.07 million for the Bell 505!
Robinson R66 – ($935,900)
The Robinson Helicopter Company manufactures some of the most cheap helicopters in the world. The R66 is identical. Like other Robinson helicopters, the R66 is a utility and training helicopter.
Following the commercial and critical successes of the R22 and R44, Robinson decided to reintroduce a new helicopter. The R44 was modified to become this helicopter, known as the R66.
In contrast to the piston-powered R22 and R44, the R66 is a turbine-powered vehicle. The R66 can carry four people or 1,200 lbs (540 kg) of freight because of its longer fuselage than the R44.
The R66’s 648 km (402 mi) range and 200 kph (130 mph) top speed increase its range and speed to 650 km (400 mi). The total price is a mere $935,900!
Bell 206 – ($900,000)
The Bell 206 was first designed as a small reconnaissance helicopter for the US Army. However, the US Army chose another Bell design and expressed little interest in the helicopter.
Other startup companies expressed interest after seeing the 206’s specifications, but they didn’t like how the body looked. The exterior of the airframe was immediately altered by Bell, who then unveiled it as the Bell 206. Because of its previous military employment, the 206 was one of the quickest and had one of the longest ranges of any helicopter at the time. Bell also sweetened the deal by charging the 206 just $900,000!
The Bell 206 provides more space for one pilot and up to four passengers than many other news teams’ helicopters. Since then, police departments have come to really like using them as VIP transports and pursuit helicopters.
Sikorsky Schweizer S333 – ($698,000)
The Bell 206 series is slightly more expensive than the Sikorsky Schweizer S333. The cost of this chopper is approximately $698,000.
Actually, the first helicopter was created by Sikorsky. Igor Sikorsky, a Russian American inventor who was born in Ukraine, created this flying device in 1939. The Sikorsky business, however, has not sat back on its historical success and is still making advances in the helicopter industry.
The Schweizer company, an aviation business that Sikorsky acquired in the early twenty-first century, actually created the Sikorsky Schweizer S333 first. Sikorsky made improvements to the design in addition to adding its name. A quick, light helicopter that may be utilized for both military and civilian missions was the end product. It is a well-liked aircraft for flight schools since it is simple to fly.
Robinson R44 – ($505,900)
In addition to the Robinson R66, Robinson Helicopter Company also produced the Robinson R44, whose design served as an inspiration for the R66. Like the Robinson R66, the Robinson R44 is among the most affordable helicopters in existence.
They decided to capitalize on Robinson’s R22 triumph (more on that in a moment!). Here, the fuselage was extended, and the engines and rotors were improved.
As a result, the R44 could accommodate three passengers and one crew member. Because of this, law enforcement agencies, air forces, corporations, flying clubs, and general aviation helicopter pilots all adore it!
Robinson planned for the R44 to have a 200 kph (130 mph) range of 560 km (347 mi). Robinson set the R44’s price at $505,900 in order to make it even more alluring than its competitors!
Enstrom TH180 – ($400,000)
One of the most cutting-edge businesses in the helicopter design industry is Enstrom. It is most known for its compact, single-engine designs that continue to push the limits of capacity. The Enstrom TH180, one of the most well-liked variants, is also among the most reasonably priced at $400,000 per unit.
One of Enstrom’s most recent models, the TH180, is lighter and more streamlined than earlier iterations. Despite its diminutive size, it possesses a respectable range and speed. Before all the specifications were even announced, numerous flight schools pre-ordered this model due to the intense anticipation around it.
The two-seater TH180, like many of Enstrom’s helicopters, is well-liked by flying schools. Learning to fly is simple for newbies to the field.
Enstrom F-28 – ($360,000)
The F-28 has been manufactured consistently for a very long time and is not only one of the most economical helicopters in the world. Typically, the F-28 is utilized as a general aviation or instruction helicopter.
In the late 1950s, helicopters were frequently used throughout the US. With this, numerous other people—among them Rudolph J. “Rudy” Enstrom, a mining engineer at the time—attempted to develop their own helicopter designs.
He observed that, in contrast to his friends, there weren’t many accessible, entry-level helicopters. In order to train military helicopter pilots, he, as a result, built a very basic helicopter. It ultimately became a pillar of general aviation.
This was caused in part by the F-28’s unbelievably low price of $360,000. In 1975, the airframe shell of the F-28 received an aerodynamic overhaul, and now it shares the F-28’s cheap cost.
Guimbal Cabri G2 – ($350,000)
Creating lightweight, reasonably priced helicopters is all that the French business Hélicoptères Guimbal does, and it does it extremely well. Guimbal manufactures the Cabri G2, dubbed “the small big helicopter,” for only approximately $350,000.
Guimbal did not make any compromises when reducing expenses and extra weight. Due to its sleek cabin, crash-resistant features, and main rotor that gives the stability of a larger helicopter, the Cabri G2 has a lot of the power of larger helicopters.
Sport flyers and those who are just learning to fly love this two-seater airplane. Additionally, the elegant interior is a favorite among those who appreciate design.
Robinson R22 – ($328,200)
Based on the R22, Robinson Helicopter Company also produces the R44 and R66. Along with the Robinson R44 and R66, the Robinson R22 is one of the less-priced helicopters!
Prior to the middle of the 1970s, very few civilians owned helicopters. As television became so popular, news organizations from all around the world began asking for an inexpensive airplane they could use for filming. Among those who heard this was Frank Robinson. He decided to build a small helicopter with a high service ceiling that could carry two people as well as a variety of cameras in different settings.
His competitors’ helicopters, on the other hand, varied in price and quality. To boost sales, Robinson provided the R22, a superior helicopter, at a discount. That sum is currently around $328,200.
Hummingbird – ($227,000)
Many manufacturers produce helicopter kits for aviation enthusiasts who desire to build their own machines. The typical aviation enthusiast can construct helicopter kits because they don’t demand a lot of specialist knowledge and only take a lot of time. One of these kits with the highest price tag, the Hummingbird 300L, costs roughly $227,000.
One of the rare helicopter kits with four seats is the one from Vertical Aviation Technologies (most have only one or two seats). It costs slightly more than other DIY helicopter kits because it is bigger than other kits, but only marginally.
Given its greater capacity and high safety regulations, this kit makes a perfect family helicopter (the model was originally supposed to be a commercial helicopter).
Safari 400 – ($143,000)
Another DIY helicopter kit is the Safari 400; however, this one is made by Safari Helicopters. At $142,800 for the complete set, it is marginally cheaper than the Hummingbird 300L.
One of the easiest kits for beginners is the Safari 400. The majority of the intricate assembly is completed in the factory, including the installation of a wire harness that makes it even simpler for novices to put electrical wiring together. If you lack the storage room for the entire kit at once, you may even get it in four separate sections.
The Safari 400’s excellent Lycoming O-360 piston engine, one of the best helicopter engines, ensures that power is not compromised for ease.
HeliWhale Afalina – ($120,000)
Since its release in 2016, the Afalina has been recognized as the world’s most cheap helicopter. This is largely accurate because it is one of the least expensive to purchase and run.
The “cheap” helicopter that helicopter manufacturers have been considering introducing for years is attempted by many of the aforementioned models. The average person, however, has never really had access to them.
This is what HeliWhale has decided to try. The price of a two-seat helicopter that was released in 2015 was less than $120,000, and it could accommodate one crew member and one passenger. Due to the helicopter’s pricing and specifications, HeliWhale received numerous requests for it. It costs $120,000 for a helicopter with a range of 750 km (470 mi) and a cruise speed of 200 kph (120 mph).
Phoenix A600 Turbo – ($108,500)
One of the newest and most well-liked helicopter kits in the world is the Phoenix A600 Turbo from Rotor X. It was introduced in 2021 and is based on RotorWay’s earlier A600 kit, which Rotor X recently acquired. You may get this kit for the comparatively cheap sum of $108,550.
The popularity of this helicopter kit can be attributed to a number of factors. One is the superior design, which resembles a helicopter that was manufactured rather than one that was assembled from a kit.
The Rotor X A600 Turbo’s exceptional performance also contributes to its appeal. It has a great piston engine and FADEC controls. Another appeal is the simplicity of the build, which only needs common hand tools and has a helpful community available to assist clients when they run into trouble. Although the gasoline tank is not as good as those in some other models, you may purchase an Aux tank to increase the range.
Brantly B-2 ($100,000)
Despite its simple exterior, the Brantly B-2 is the most cheap helicopter in the world. It has generally been seen as a dismal failure, yet in at least one area—pricing—it has excelled.
In 1946, the US Army Air Corps wanted a modernized light reconnaissance helicopter. One of the independent designers was a man named N O Brantly, who had aspirations of creating his own helicopter empire.
However, the idea was too complicated to actually use. The result of Brantly’s decision to create a helicopter that would appeal to fans of private flying is the Brantly B-2.
Brantly spent less money building the full aircraft than its competitors yet marketed it for the outrageously low price of $100,000. Since its initial release in 1958, it has been sold more than 330 times.
HeliCycle – ($67,000)
With a price tag of around $67,000, the HeliCycle is among the cheapest helicopters available. The DIY kit is ideal for an aviation and DIY enthusiast on a tight budget.
Because it is considerably smaller than conventional helicopters, the HeliCycle is extremely inexpensive. It is only suitable for lone wolf flyers since it only fits one person. It has a space-saving gas turbine engine that nonetheless generates power.
Keep in mind that once your build is complete, you will need to invest more funds to purchase essential add-ons like a radio and electronics system. These aren’t included in the HeliCycle’s original design because many pilots like to customize them.
Composite-FX XE 290 – ($55,000)
The Composite-FX XE 290 is the most reasonably priced factory-built helicopter you can purchase, costing only $55,000 as a kit or $70,000 when factory-finished.
Because they are so small, Composite’s FX series helicopters are jokingly referred to as “mosquitos.” These helicopters only have one seat, so they are not the best choice if you want to take the whole family somewhere. The ultra-lightweight cabin and reduced capacity, however, save assembly costs.
With an 800cc 90HP fuel-injected piston engine, the Composite-FX XE 290 is a compact but powerful vehicle. The maximum speed is 95 mph (152 kph). For two hours, it can go at 80 mph (128 kph). The XE 290 weighs 390 lbs (177 kg) when empty, and its maximum gross weight is 720 lbs (362 kg).
Composite-FX XE – ($46,000)
The Composite-FX XE, an even lighter variation of the well-liked Composite-FX XE 290, is the least expensive helicopter on the market. The price of this helicopter will only be $46,000 if you purchase it as a kit. For $59,000, you can also purchase it factory-finished.
Most cars weigh more than the XE’s 298 lbs (135 kg), which is less; 610 lbs (276 Kg) are its maximum gross weight with the pilot. It has a carbureted MZ202 engine. The XEL model also allows you to land on water because it includes floats.
The FAA classifies the Composite-FX XE as an ultra-light aircraft under Part 103 due to its modest size. The kit can be purchased and put together without a pilot’s license! Before using it, it is strongly advised that you have the appropriate training and a license.