If you like the idea of flying to work every day and avoiding traffic on the ground, then you’ve no doubt aspired to swooping in via your own private helicopter. It’s easier than ever to access helicopter charter services, thanks to an innovation in design that make engines quieter and allows for further travel. But just how far can such a charter helicopter fly? It’s an important consideration, particularly if you’re looking to purchase one yourself.
As you may expect, the smaller the size of the helicopter, the smaller the fuel tank, and naturally the reduced distance it can travel. For those serious about owning a helicopter and integrating this method of travel into their day to day planning, it’s essential to not have to think about fuel stops every hundred or so miles. A typical mid-range design will be able to fly for 2.5 hours at 135 knots, for 300-350 miles without refuelling. To put that into perspective, that kind of speed and fuel efficiency will get you from London to Paris in 90 minutes. A larger model, like the Sikorsky S92 can seat up to 16 people and reach 160 mph for over 600 miles.
Simply put, there a lot of different helicopters out there with different sized fuel tanks and different maximum speeds. The key is finding one that suits your needs and fits in with the lifestyle you have planned.
What does the law say?
Just like planes, helicopters have to abide by a similar set of rules laid out by the Civil Aviation Authority. If you plan on flying near busy areas, like Heathrow or other major airports, you’ll have to submit to air traffic control who will set out routes that you’re allowed to take depending on the size of your helicopter, its speed, and its engine. Access to private property can always be restricted, even if you’re the President of the United States, as the Queen illustrated when she banned Barack Obama’s fleet from landing on the Windsor Castle lawn.
Occasionally, bad weather can result in blanket bans on helicopter flights if the conditions are deemed too unsafe. Even the best-outfitted helicopters have their access restricted when conditions are at their worst, known as ‘Sea State Six’.
If you’re planning on moving between borders in your helicopter then you’ll be subjected to the same laws as private jets, though these can vary from country to country. For example, in the UK, all private flights must go through Custom, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) before they’re cleared to enter.
Ask yourself how far you need to travel
In essence, a helicopter can travel as far as your money can. Depending on how much you’re willing to spend and how far you need to travel, there will be a helicopter out there for you. If you want to try out some models to determine their suitability, there are a range of helicopter charter flights that you can take advantage of.