So you’re in the market for a private jet… well, seems like most of the UHNW cohort has one these days, perhaps even parked in their own dedicated hangar. What they don’t have—yet—is the latest in hopped-up helicopters. Meet the Hill HX50, what the company likes to dub the ‘world’s first private helicopter’. More specifically, the first of its kind specifically designed for personal use. Slated to hit the skies in 2023, the Hill HX50 starts at roughly $648,000 USD. Delivery of each helicopter will depend on the date the order is placed.
Sublime proportions paired with sleek styling should appeal to the Maserati hypercar crowd, while the sheer stance of the chopper has a bold McLaren crossover feel. When it comes to exteriors, the HX50 has more in common with the styling of exotic supercars the likes of Lamborghini than a Bell Boeing silhouette. For experienced pilots, high performance is at your fingertips. The queue of clients is already well over 100; those at the head of the queue are expected to receive their order in August 2023, according to Hill.
The brainchild of chief engineer Jason Hill, the new HX50 is designed specifically for private individual owners, rather than fleet operators. For the pleasure of early adopters, each new owner is invited to the Hill factory in the UK. Inaugural purchasers will work side by side with a team of engineers and production technicians—all with the endgame to create a custom dream machine that exceeds every childhood whim you ever had when it comes to the freedom of flight. According to Hill, each client can build up to 51 percent of the personal rotorcraft if they so wish, under the close supervision of professionals. Talk about taking bespoke liberties and liveries to a whole new level.
Hill is on a mission to create an aerial grand touring helicopter—to make flying the HX50 as desirable as owning a fine automobile, or splurging on a Riva speedboat or Mercedes Cigarette Racer. “We see the personal aviation trend continuing to strengthen for many years to come. If you can make an aircraft obtainable and desirable enough there is going to be a very large market for it,” predicts Dr. Jason Hill, Chairman & Chief Engineer.
On the engineering side, the specifications of the HX50 promise one powerhouse whip of a ride. Equipped with a three-blade rotor system and an in-house GT50 turboshaft engine good for 400 hp, the chopper will be capable of cruising speeds of 161 mph, and a range of up to 806 miles. A clever retractable landing gear smoothly reduces drag for more elegant lift off, a departure from the jerky wobbles of vintage Hawaii Five-O episodes.
With a Mission Impossible look and feel—to the point where we wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Cruise (or his people) already have the A-Lister on the interest list. The futuristic fuselage is distinctive and streamlined to precision; it can be coated in a plethora of eye-catching or discreet color ways—your wish, your whimsy. Whether inspired by your clan’s tartan plaid, or the sapphire blue of your baby daughter’s eyes, make this heli your own.
Inside, the five-person cabin is finished in plush leather and sports large, panoramic windows. A simple digital cockpit is truly a game changer, comprising two 15-inch glass instrument panels and an iPad, ideal for recreational pilots. Leisure aviators may soon be able to leave charter fleets in the rear view mirror—that is, if Hill engineers and designers can deliver on fabrication, operational ease and intuitive controls.
Owning a helicopter means you skip gridlock and civilian traffic while gaining the liberty and not-so-humble bragging rights flying on your own terms affords. Sure, you can charter a helicopter to get to the Berkshire Hathaway AGM, but customizing a machine to suit your own specs and aesthetic sensibility, arriving in high style, is pretty priceless. To say nothing of never having to compete for flight time.
The good news, dear reader, is that personal ownership of both private jets and helicopters is more plausible for the affluent than ever. For those who wish to pilot the aircraft themselves, you’ll want to ensure you log plenty of training hours in how to safely operate these marvelous machines. Not every helicopter pilot’s license is the same, nor universal. If you have your eye on a specific chopper, make sure your training is targeted for that helicopter.
For me the helicopter delivers a sense of freedom for the soul that is simply unachievable anywhere else. Jason Hill is taking this divine experience to the next level by creating for us, a state of the art helicopter.
– STEVE BROOKS (EXPLORER AND RECORD-BREAKING HELICOPTER PILOT)
A helicopter that is both luxurious and economic, along with being fast and quiet, is the ideal innovation that the market is looking for. Companies like Hill aim to align the experience of flight with the travel experience you enjoy from your high-end vehicle. This dovetails with the travel trend that we have seen developing over the last couple of years.
Safe to say, the future looks bright for those who dream of commuting to work and conferences on their own terms, or even those in long distance relationships that are suddenly not so insurmountable with a private heli in the equation. From highway gridlock saver to love life saver, the pleasurable upside of private helicopter ownership has never been more attainable, or more provocatively stylish.