Choppers anyone?

Making too many short trips on work? A helicopter is what you need. Here’s a look at some of the best models you can buy.

Dhiman Chattopadhyay        Print Edition: May 4, 2008

Enstrom 480B, USA

Why: The Enstrom 480 was developed to provide an affordable, but competent, light turbine helicopter. The 480B series now flies in 18 countries. This is a popular choice for a wide range of applications, including personal transport, flight instruction, law enforcement, executive transport (charter), electronic news gathering and sightseeing.

The 480B offers a lot of room, visibility, and more seating options than some of its more expensive competitors. It starts with a wide open seating area, without any partitions between occupants to restrict movement or visibility. The seats provide each passenger with excellent leg and head room.

The 480B accommodates up to five people, including the pilot. In addition to unequalled horizontal visibility, two sets of chin windows and huge overhead windows combine to provide exceptional downward and overhead visibility.

Price: Approximately $450,000 (Rs 1.8 crore) upwards
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Bell 430, USA

Why: The Bell 430 has a spacious cabin, a full glass cockpit, handstitched leather seating, infrared sound system and wheeled landing gear.

Up to five people can enjoy a luxury ride on these crafts. Most big businessmen in India who frequently travel short distances on work, prefer the Bell to other helicopters.

Price: $500,000 (Rs 2 crore) upwards

Robinson R44 Raven, USA

Why: For those who expect excellence and appreciate value, the R44 Raven is a good choice. It is designed for high altitudes, fast speeds and luxurious rides.

It seats four people. Another major plus point is the reduced noise level.

Price: Approximately $425,000 or Rs 1.7 crore (basic cost plus minimal optionals like air conditioning)
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Sikorsky 333, USA

Why: Flight performance, safety and easy maintainability make the 333 a preferred choice for personal helicopter use. Passengers appreciate the smooth and comfortable ride, its low vibration levels ensure.

This helicopter can seat up to four people.

Price: On request
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