Airbus has been selling the medium-class twin-engine H175 helicopter for two years in its role as an offshore workhorse, and now the company has delivered its first VIP version. The chopper will enter service in Europe, where it will be based on a yacht. The interior of the cabin—about 7 feet wide and 13 feet long—was created by Pegasus Design, well known for its work on business jets and superyachts. The cabin has two seating areas; four oversize club seats fill a casual space close to the forward galley, and a divan accommodates three to four passengers toward the rear. Plenty of windows provide panoramic views for all, and enhanced soundproofing allows passengers to converse without headsets. Other special features added for traveler comfort are a three-step, electric-powered entry stair; hinged doors instead of sliding panels; electronically dimmable windows; and mood lighting.
A pair of powerful PT6 turbines by Pratt & Whitney Canada drives the H175. The cockpit can be managed by a single pilot in clear weather, but a crew of two is required for operation in restricted visibility conditions. The pilots are supported by an advanced avionics system designed by Helionix, a four-axis autopilot, and an auto-hover feature that automatically corrects for wind drift. The aircraft can fly at speeds up to 184 mph over a distance of up to 690 miles. Pricing for the VIP version starts at $17.9 million. (airbushelicopters.com)