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Air Wars – Will Seaplanes Replace Helicopters on Superyachts?

Amphibious seaplane - Icon A5 - will seaplanes replace helicopters on charteryachts?

Back in June, we took a look at the new Mercedes Benz-style helicopter, the EC145, and its potential use as an air tender on mega yacht charter vessels. 

Several readers contacted us to say the air tender of the future might be a plane and not a helicopter.  We found the concept too intriguing not to investigate further.

As we stated in June, “In the rarified air of multimillion dollar superyachts and gigayachts, helipads on luxury mega yacht charter vessels like motor yacht AIR and motor yacht MOONLIGHT II  commonplace…” 

Helicopter on superyacht - will this be replaced by a amphibious seaplane?

That being said, there are four compelling reasons why seaplanes might give helicopters a run for their money: acquisition cost, maintenance cost, payload, and range.

Simply put – it is often more affordable to acquire and maintain a seaplane when compared to a helicopter; and while we found payload comparisons vary depending upon the type of airship, the seaplanes far exceed the range of the typical helicopters.

Seaplanes, including a new amphibian model, could be taking the place of onboard helicopters on charter megayachts

What might further tip the scales in the favor of seaplanes is the new generation of planes known as
Special Light Sport Aircraft.   

Light sport aircraft are relatively new to general aviation. In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a new category for sport aircraft.

In general, sports aircraft are cheaper to build than most helicopters.   With fewer training hours required, it is also easier and less expensive for people to get a sport pilot license as compared to a traditional pilot’s license.
As a tender to a luxury yacht charter vessel, the most interesting new sports plane is the Icon A5, slated for full production later this year.  The A5 is a 2-seat composite amphibian. Weighing just 1000 pounds, the plane features folding wings, allowing the aircraft to be stored onboard a yacht in a space no larger than 28 by 9 feet. 
With a price of just $135,000, the Icon A5 could prove to be the low cost air tender of the future.


Take advantage of great last minute specials for charters in New England, the Bahamas, and the Mediterranean.   Contact us at TODAY.

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