Is Buying A Helicopter Different From Buying A Fixed-Wing Aircraft?

Let’s try a thought experiment: you’re a successful businessperson with a love for the open skies. You have the means to purchase an aircraft, but you aren’t sure which to choose. Should you pick a plane? And if so, what kind? Or, should you pick a helicopter? And if a helicopter how many rotors do you want? Is buying a helicopter different from buying a fixed-wing aircraft?

The short answer is well, yes! But that, of course, comes with some caveats. Keep reading to learn the difference between helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. You can also browse our extensive inventory of everything that takes to the sky!

Different Types of Fixed-Wing Aircraft

The first thing we need to do is define exactly what a fixed-wing aircraft is. That is easier said than done because fixed-wing refers to just about any type of aircraft that uses its wings to lift into the air. A major characteristic of fixed-wing vehicles is their use of both wings and the speed of the craft itself to achieve flight.

It’s also important to point out that despite the name, fixed-wing aircraft don’t necessarily have to have wings that are fixed in place. Rather, the name simply refers to aircraft that use wings instead of rotors.

There are many different types of fixed-wing planes, including:

  • Planes – both single and twin engine
  • Jets
  • Seaplanes
  • Gliders – both powered and unpowered
  • Ground effect vehicles
  • And even kites!

Now that we know a bit more about fixed-wing crafts, let’s take a look at helicopters.

Different Types of Helicopters

While buying a helicopter is different than buying a fixed-wing aircraft, there are several types of helicopters to consider. In fact, helicopters themselves are just one smaller class of aircraft known as rotorcraft. Rotorcraft are vehicles that use rotors revolving around a mast to achieve flight. This doesn’t mean they don’t have an engine to achieve initial lift off or that they don’t have propellers and other maneuvering components. Rather, it just means their primary characteristic is their rotors.   

Rotorcrafts include:

  • Helicopters
  • Gyroplanes
  • Rotor kites
  • Cyclocopteres

Fixed-Wing vs. Helicopter Cost

The next factor to consider when choosing between a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft is the cost. While purchasing any aircraft brings with it a price tag, helicopters are generally more expensive. Of course, what you end up paying will largely depend on the specific aircraft you choose, as well as where you’re purchasing it from, but a good rule of thumb is that helicopters are more expensive. This is due in large part to the cost of helicopter upkeep. You’ll find yourself with less hours of flight time for the engines, burning through fuel quicker, and doing near constant upkeep on the rotors themselves. You also have to factor in the cost of flight training. It’s generally estimated that learning to fly in a standard fixed-wing, like a Cessna, will cost between $6,000 and $8,000. Helicopter training, on the other hand, can cost you between $10,000 and $15,000.  

Should You Pick a Fixed-Wing Plane or a Helicopter?

While there are pros and cons to both fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft, the final decision on which to pick is ultimately determined by your preference. Planes offer a “traditional” flying experience. That is to say, you will taxi, take off, communicate with aircraft control, and land. You can get adventurous, of course, but your flight protocol itself will be fairly standard.

Helicopters offer a bit more unique of a flight experience. The takeoff, communication, and landing processes themselves are well documented. Although they’re considered a bit more difficult than flying a plane, they’re not that exotic. Rather, what helicopter flying offers is the ability to go places planes simply can’t. Want to fly up along a mountain? You can. You’ll have to keep air pressure in mind, but it’s possible. You can fly all across the United States and take in some truly amazing views. So, if you’re feeling adventurous, then a helicopter is likely the way to go.

Is Buying Helicopters Versus Fixed-Wing Aircraft

There you have it – the difference between buying a helicopter a fixed-wing aircraft. Now that you know a bit more about what to consider, take a look at our extensive inventory. Happy shopping!

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