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Air Wars – Will Seaplanes Replace Helicopters on Superyachts?

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Photograph of a seaplane sitting on a concrete floor, as if in a showroom. The front headlights are on.  The back tail has red trim.  The plane is silver with grey windows and is very sleek and modern-looking


We profiled the new Mercedes Benz-style helicopter, the EC145.   Its use as an air tender on mega yacht charter vessels is popular. 

Several readers contacted us.  They said the future air tender might be a plane, and not a helicopter.  We decided 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…” 

Photograph of a solid white motoryacht running. Boat is heading toward the bottom 1/3 of the photograph. There are 2 mountains in the background.


To illustrate, there are four compelling reasons behind the seaplane advantage.  Specifically, acquisition cost, maintenance cost, payload, and range outweigh helicopters.

Similarly, it is often more affordable to buy and maintain a seaplane.  Compared to a helicopter; we found payload comparisons vary.  This is because of the type of airship.  Seaplanes far exceed the range of typical helicopters.

Seaplane photo. Picture of seaplane in the water behind the swim platform of yacht. The swim platform has is wet in the center, and it has 2 blue and white striped sunpads on it.


The new generation of planes, specifically, Special Light Sport Aircraft, are the new item.   



These 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.


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New Seaplane Service Delivers Charterers to Yachts

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Seaplane photo. Picture of seaplane in the water behind the swim platform of  yacht. The swim platform has 2 blue and white striped lounges on it


New York-based seaplane company, Fly The Whale, has just introduced service in the Caribbean.

Specifically, they will fly passengers from the airports of San Juan, St. Thomas, and Antigua to the waters of the North Sound, Virgin Gorda, BVI.  


One of the most appealing features of this service is the ability to deliver passengers directly to their Virgin Islands yacht charter vessels straight from the airport, saving them countless hours in transit.



In addition, Fly The Whale is also making  many provisioning runs – delivering fresh seafood, produce and flowers to superyacht vessels at anchor in the sound. According to charter maven Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters, the flight service is long overdue. 

“Local ferry boats and water taxis run on set schedules and infrequently on weekends,”  says Sheeder. “This new service might just become the most convenient way to get to yachts in the North Sound – particularly in light of the new YC Costa Smeralda marina opening there in the near future.”


Fly The Whale was founded in New York on a simple premise: life is too short for traffic. Long, frustrating drives from the city to places like the Hamptons have been replaced with first-class, hassle-free routes to many NY area destinations, with the East River serving as the primary airstrip for the seaplanes. 



According to the company’s website, the company flies state-of-the-art aircraft, piloted by the industry’s best-trained pilots. All flights are operated in strict accordance with Federal Aviation Administration Part 135 regulations. If flights are canceled due to inclement weather or maintenance issues, Fly The Whale refunds the fare. 



Finally, let our 1-800 Yacht Charters destination specialists help you every step of the way with your yachting holiday.  Contact us at TODAY. 

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Video Of Charter Yacht SuRi In Raja Ampat Islands

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OK, we’ll admit it – when Dee Kraley, manager of motor yacht SuRi, first invited us onboard the former oil rig supply boat, we were skeptical. Was it really possible to take an old ship built in 1978 by Halter Marine, cut her in half to extend her overall length from the middle, and transform her into a modern expedition yacht charter vessel?

After two extensive rebuilds and a 2016 refit, the answer is a resounding, “YES!”  The “old supply ship” is indeed one of the most luxurious charter yachts available in her size and price category.

Adding 11 meters to her overall length significantly boosted her volume, both indoors and on deck.

Yacht SuRi underway

Yet more impressive than her transformation is her owner’s commitment to creating the ultimate adventure travel vessel in the charter market.

While most superyachts carry  a respectable  inventory of watersports gear, this yacht takes it to another level – with multiple tenders,  a helicopter, seaplane, jet skis, hoverboard, scuba diving equipment, quadskis, and so much more. Twenty (20) active, athletic crewmembers add to the neverending fun, excitement, and adventure enjoyed by charter guests.

So where do you base a yacht filled-to-the-brim with toys?  It must be a destination with endless opportunities for exploration and water-themed adventure. The answer?  The South Pacific and the islands of Fiji, French Polynesia, and Indonesia.

A favorite anchorage for yacht SuRi and her charter guests are the islands of Raja Ampat, an archipelago of 1500 islands located off the northwest tip of New Guinea. Marine life thrives here, and the bio-diversity is unlike anywhere else in the world – with hundreds of species of corals and reef fish, along with whales, dolphins, and giant rays.

Check out this amazing action-packed yacht charter video of motoryacht SuRi and her onboard guests enjoying the breathtaking beauty of Raja Ampat:

Come enjoy The Superyacht Experience onboard motor yacht SuRi.   Available summer 2018 in French Polynesia and Fiji, and priced at $350,000 per week  (plus operating expenses like food and fuel) for up to 12 guests.  Click HERE for further information…

WHAT’S IN A NAME?  No, she is not owned by Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes or daughter, Suri.  Her name, SuRi, is the combination of her owners’ first names.  Just in case you were wondering…  😉

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