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However, these VIPs today require more than just an everyday private helicopter. Large helicopter makers such as Airbus Hlicopters, Bell Helicopter, Leonardo and Sikorsky are creating unique design solutions for this very challenging area. The Leonardo AW609 tilt rotor unites airplane and helicopter components. The helicopter boom of the Airbus Corporate Helicopter ( "ACH"), the leading global aeronautics and space group, was unveiled in May 2017 to unite the luxurious models of its helicopter family under a unified name.
Leonardo, the ltalian company, is getting ready to introduce a truly groundbreaking tilt rotor airplane - the AW609 - that unites some of the features of planes and helidecks. Sikorsky is working on the new VH-92A president helicopter on the other side of the Atlantic, while Bell Helicopter has developed the first fly-by-wire helicopter, the spacious Bell 525 Relentless.
Today, fly-by-wire, in which the airplane is steered not by means of mechanic but by means of electronical rather than electrical control is the standard for passenger airplanes, but not yet for helidecks. Why are luxurious choppers so special? Inside a Bell 429 MAGnificent. VIP choppers have some significant improvements over their more workhorse-like models. "Of course, one of them is cabins, but there are also a number of technological characteristics that can only be found at the top end of the helicopter market," says Grayson J. Barrows, Executive Vice President Cabins Solutions at Mecaer Aviation Group, an Italien helicopter interiors specialist.
In addition to special companies such as Mecaer, helicopter makers also enter into partnership with high-ranking deluxe names outside the aerospace world. Hermes and Mercedes-Benz have entered into a partnership with Airbus Helicopters for its ACH Edition series, while Leonardo has collaborated with Versace and Karl Lagerfeld. "Made in Italy is highly valued by the VVIP audience, but we also collaborate with other clothing stores.
" Design engineers, however, have to deal with the restrictions on place and weights that are taken for granted in the helicopter world. "Deluxe in a helicopter is more subtile than in a corporate jet," says Colin Hodges of Bell Helicopter. "A lot of clients are satisfied with a functioning cab, even if they have luxurious private aircraft.
Demonstration of the soft-touch reader lamps on a Bell 525 Relentless. "Whilst many clients are really not so interested in stateroom equipment and would only work with a catalogue format alternative, there are some who are very sophisticated and want to have a say in every detail. Even for relatively brief helicopter flights, cabins are comfortable, habitable and reduce sound level.
Sikorsky, for example, is proud of the low level of silence of its S-76D, while Bell Helicopter emphasizes the quiet flying and low vibrations as key characteristics of its new Bell 525 Relentless series. "VIP travellers don't like wearing noise-reducing headsets," says Mr Barrows. "and they don't anticipate wearing them during a helicopter trip.
One of the characteristics that Manuela Barbarossa, manager of the Leonardo VVIP system, highlights is the cab temp. Isn' this all a little exaggerated when the helicopter flight lasts less than an hours? "When you' re a millionaire, you don't want everything to be absolute first class, even if you don't drive your helicopter more than 20 or 30 min at a time," says Mr Billrows.
Why do you need a helicopter? Shorter commuting distances in the city are one of the main areas of operation for private helidecks. "Municipal development and the creation of the metropolis are pushing forward the need for helicopters," says Barbarossa. "For example, in towns like Sao Paulo, those who can buy it use a helicopter for their everyday swing.
" It is no accident that Sao Paulo was selected as the starting point for Voom, a town helicopter services developed by Airbus for on-call operations. Ultimately, the rewards for their playing fields are often looking for remote, hard-to-reach places, be they in mountainous regions, private isles, or megayachts. It' s not difficult to discount the yachting owners marketeer speaking about VVIPs, as one of the keys that VVIPs play is to transport these wealthy and mighty people and their environment to and from their supercaravans.
In order to satisfy this need, Airbus strives to better incorporate the needs of individual yachts into its design. Not only does it cooperate with Peder Eidsgaard, a well-known super yachts design company, it has also brought to market the ACH Yachting Interface application, a powerful online toolset that helps yachting and shipbuilding professionals incorporate ACH airplanes into their yachting work.
Some helicopter operators need their aircraft to track them wherever their jet-setting lifestyle takes them. "Customers need a helicopter that is available everywhere, it can be a single continental destination in one single business day and the other side the closest to the world," says Charlotte Ranslet Pedersen, Managing Director of Luxaviation Helicopters.
Occasionally we send the helicopter by freighter within a few short flying hour from one side of the globe to the other. "Luxaviation, headquartered in Luxembourg and recently acquiring VVIP helicopter carrier Starspeed, is one of the few companies to offer the combination of the necessary hardware capabilities to operate a specialised consulting firm with the smooth yet sophisticated capabilities needed to succeed in the high-end context of providing high end helicopter management solutions.
In addition to handling most of the servicing, these companies, which includes subsidiary companies of the large helicopter companies, also supply and in some cases lease aircraft to other customers while their owner does not need them. In 2018, City Airbus made its first test mission. Even the helicopter industry is ready for innovations.
The Leonardo prepares the market introduction of the first civil tiltrotor - the AW609. Up to now, tilt rotors have been able to operate under the influence of the US Army either as airplanes or helicopters by changing the rotors location between horizontally and vertically. tilt rotors can be used to move the rotors between the horizontally and the vertically positioned. Combining the capability of perpendicular take-off and landing with the velocity and cruising distance of turbo-prop gliders, these planes are designed to be used in a wide variety of applications.
What makes this design so attractive is that it will probably draw both helicopter and aeroplane users. There' s a tradeoff in that they are a little bit slow in airplane speed than a plane, but the tradeoff is that they are a little bit nearer to door-to-door. While the AW609 will accommodate nine people, Leonardo is already working on bigger models.
In the next few years, the first Vahana business jets (which made its first test in January 2018) and the CityAirbus, both from Airbus, as well as the Uber Elevate aerotaxy, developed by Uber in collaboration with Bell Helicopter, should take place. Luxurious releases won't be far off.