Imagine lifting off from your yacht’s helipad aboard a luxurious, VIP helicopter, heading out for a day of glorious, windswept sightseeing over Venice and along the Venetian coast?  Have your chef pack your favorite wine and cheese, some antipasto plus a few other Italian delicacies and within seconds, you and your passengers will be gasping “Mozzafiato!” with delight.

Yacht helipads increasing in popularity

Superyacht helipads are becoming increasingly popular as travelers look for new ways to kick their vacations up a notch and surprise their friends and family with unexpected, fun getaways to nearby attractions.

Airbus, while known for its military and civilian fixed wing aircraft, also manufactures some of the best lightweight helicopters for VIP transport, sightseeing, medical emergency airlift and law enforcement.

A Eurocopter EC 130 (now known as the H130), manufactured by Airbus, perches on the back of a yacht.

Eurocopter H130

The Airbus Eurocopter H130 (formerly known as the EC130), operated by 290 customers in 50 countries, is a lightweight, single-engine helicopter and touted as the perfect superyacht helicopter because of its:

  • Relatively small size
  • Light weight
  • Quiet ride – the quietest helicopter in its category
  • Below requirement noise signature of seven dB
  • Air conditioning
  • Luxurious interior
  • Crash-worthy, energy-absorbing, leather seats
  • Multiple cargo holds for luggage, golf clubs
  • Seven-passenger configuration
  • Avionics and flight safety features
  • Flight data recorders
  • One or two pilot configuration
  • State-of-the-art avionics

Newest variant

The Eurocopter H130 was actually designed as a touring helicopter, in consultation with major tour operators such as Blue Hawaiian Helicopters for aerial tours of Hawaii and the Grand Canyon and launched as the first operator of the B4 variant in 1999.

In 2012, Airbus released the next generation H130 T2, a more powerful variant of the B4, boasting 10 percent more power on average and lower fuel consumption, providing a higher maximum takeoff weight and greater speed.

What pilots need to know

According to Airbus, the H130 integrates “state-of-the-art technologies, materials, systems and avionics… this user-friendly helicopter is pleasant and easy for pilots to fly.

“The Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD), integrated in the instrument panel, reduces the pilot’s workload considerably, thus enhancing flight safety.  The H130 is fully equipped with a VFR day-and-night navigation system in a standard “ready to fly” package, associated with a GPS map display.”

Both pilots and passengers will appreciate the main and tail rotor systems, which incorporate “proven Airbus helicopter technologies for performance, ruggedness, reliability and safety,” says Airbus.

And of course the Eurocopter H130 has the trademark Airbus Fenestron tail rotor, which Airbus says delivers “significantly higher safety levels on the ground, during landing/takeoff operations in confined areas, and in flight; enhanced anti-torque control efficiency; reduced power demand in forward flight; and lower sound and vibration levels.”

The Eurocopter H130 T2 has been upgraded with more power and safety features as well as greater comfort, style and noise-reduction technology. Photo courtesy microflite

The Venice Film Festival awaits

With the Venice Film Festival (the world’s oldest) coming up at the end of August until early September, the time to start planning your itinerary could be now.

Contact your broker about the Euro copter H130.

Eurocopter H130 Specs – Overview

  • Dimensions
    • Length – 35 feet
    • Width – 7 feet
  • Capacity
    • 1-2 pilots
    • 6-7 passengers
  • Fast Speed
    • 147 miles to 127 knots
  • Range
    • 383 miles – 333 nautical miles
  • Endurance
    • 4 hours