What Type of Helicopter is Right for Me?

This is a lot like asking, “What type of food with I like?” That is because, the answer is the same-there is no one right answer. Each application is generally suited to a specific type of aircraft however, given as Helicopters are incredibly versatile platforms, a helicopter may prove to be ‘good’ at handling a wide variety of tasks that it wasn’t necessarily engineered to do.

There are a few basic guidelines that you might use to select a helicopter, which include ease of flying, utility features, costs, and type. By far, the most common starter helicopter for new pilots and owner is either the Robinson R22 (2 seater) or r44 (4 seater), which is a piston-engined, single rotor helicopter that looks a little funky but is fairly easy to fly. One the other end of the spectrum, a common VIP transport aircraft for corporations is the Sikorsky S-72; fully optioned out, it can bring a price tag of nearly $20m USD, whereas the Robinsons cost less than $450,000.

Another factor to consider is what your intended use of the helicopter is. A helicopter design to, say, do sightseeing may not need the capabilities of a helicopter designed to sling logs underneath it for helilogging operations. Eurocopter, Boeing, Sikorsky, Robinson, Augusta-Westland, and Bell are common manufacturers that offer aircraft to fit a wide variety of applications and budgets. But a simple chart below, to show you-generally-what aircrafts are available in your price range.

Price Intended use Available Models
$5m + Corporate/Executive Sikorky S-75, s72, Ag/West K2/K3
$1-5m Utility/Touring/Med AW k2, EC145, Bell LongRanger
$500k-1m Sport/Sightseeing EC135, Robinson r66, Bell Jet Ranger
Under 500k Training/Personal Robinson r22, r44, and Schweitzer Helicopters
$100 Fun R/C Helicopter sold at the Kiosk at the mall

By no means is this chart comprehensive. There are hundreds of models available, from specialty (think Sikorsky Skycranes) to build-it-yourself (Rotorway Kit Models) and even NOTAR and double main rotor aircraft. A visit to your local dealer will tell you more, but the bottom line is this- only you know what helicopter is right for your intended application, so plot this out before you buy!