Every call I get for a helicopter charter always includes one question: “how much is it?”. When I tell them, some are suprised, some aren’t. It’s a tough question to answer; it costs any where from a couple hundered bucks to thousands to charter a helicopter depending on the helicopter, length of flight, destinations, etc. Here is my “basic” guide to figuring out how much your helicopter charter will be. Keep in mind that everything changes depending on the country you are in, the type of helicopter, how busy that company is, the cost of fuel. There’s no one-size-fits all response, but this should give you a decent idea of what to expect.
Typically, the helicopter you charter will be based on a “per hour” rate; keep in mind that this is flight time, and could include the flight time from the helicopter’s base to your pickup and dropoff. On top of that, you may incur landing fees (usually in the $50-250 range per landing), wait time fees (varies depending on operator, we charge $100 per hour), fuel surcharges, overnight fees, or minimum flight time (depends on how long you’ll be tying up the aircraft).
Some companies require you to fly a minimum amount of time to use the aircraft; for example, if you want to fly out to the beach (15 minutes each way) but want to stay there all day and fly back, the company may require you spend X amount of dollars or pay for X number of flight hours. This is because your short flight is keeping that helicopter from being used by any other customers and thus limiting the amount of time that helicopter can fly (and the operator’s ability to stay in business).
Make sure you ask the company if they own and operate their helicopters (followed by asking for their air carrier certificate)! I’ve known brokers to mark up prices by 500% (that being said, a good air charter broker is a great asset in helping you choose the best operator, but find out what it will cost you upfront); professional brokers know the industry, what is the best aircraft and operator for your needs, how much the charter should cost, and will charge a reasonable percentage or flat rate for their services. If they are not willing to be upfront with you, move on.
I hope this helps you understand helicopter charter pricing a bit better! Please message or respond if you have questions; I’m happy to help!
Jessie at Baltimore Helicopter Services
Standard Per Hour Rates (source: http://www.jobs4helicopters.com/index.php?nav=rates):
Type Aircraft Average Rate Low Rate High Rate
Astar B1,B2,B3 $ 1588 $ 850 $ 5500
Bell 205 A1++ $ 2242 $ 1200 $ 3000
Bell 206 L1,L3,LR $ 1432 $ 950 $ 3895
Bell 206B3 JR $ 1297 $ 680 $ 5300
Bell 212 $ 2489 $ 850 $ 3800
Bell 407 $ 1975 $ 1850 $ 2000
Bell 412 $ 3128 $ 2000 $ 4240
Bell UH-1H-703 $ 2478 $ 1600 $ 5600
H500 or MD500 $ 877 $ 600 $ 1800
K-max $ 3311 $ 1900 $ 4200
Robinson R44 $ 691 $ 525 $ 1645
S-58T $ 3118 $ 2975 $ 3300
S-61 $ 4848 $ 3950 $ 6000
Twin Star $ 1488 $850 $1800
UH-1H or Bell 214 $ 1596 $1300 $2500