That the private ownership of helicopters and jets is a privilege to a select few is hardly disputed by anyone. What’s more interesting to note, if you’re interested in advertising like I am, are the distinctly different ways that private aviation is marketed depending on what kind of machine you’re talking about. If we’re talking about business jets, their makers and resellers often choose to underscore the high level of comfort and luxury that their aircraft provides. On the other hand, helicopters, even of the private variety, are often marketed as “military-grade machines of doom”, “if it’s good enough for the USMC then it’s good enough for you!” and so forth.
The military angle isn’t very surprising, considering that’s usually what you’d associate helicopters with. I bet you’d have an easier time remembering the Wagner-thundering gunships from Apocalypse Now rather than the fire-bombing planes from that very same movie (let’s ignore how iconic the helicopter scene is, otherwise my thesis doesn’t really hold any water).
American helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky has taken notice. Their S-76C++ was introduced as the ultimate VIP chopper. The first customer? The British Royal Family. Sikorsky has been the helicopter supplier for the Queen for half a century, so the royals were a natural choice.
“[The S-76C++] most closely meets the mission requirements by providing a quiet and comfortable cabin environment, low carbon footprint and best value for money. We have enjoyed excellent product support from Sikorsky over many years and I look forward to a continued relationship”, says Royal chief pilot (what a title!) Christopher Pittaway. The helicopter features a powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2S2, a luxurious interior and an inventive noise reduction system called Quiet Zone to ensure a comfortable ride.