The world’s superyachts are the most opulent, luxurious and downright impressive machines ever built. And coming high on the list of superyacht design features is a helipad. With helipad design a hot topic for today’s shipbuilders, it would be logical to assume that it’s only the biggest of the yachts that can accommodate them. In fact, the motor yacht Buckpasser was one of the first to be built with a helipad in the 1980s, and at 36.8 metres she is a long way off the largest on the seas.
A helipad is the superyacht must-have, allowing owners and guests the chance to explore further and get to and from their yacht quicker. These air tenders are the next step from traditional tenders, providing the chance to explore remote far-flung corners of the world, or to simply travel in comfort and ease.
Helipads come in all shapes and sizes on superyachts, with everything from commercial landing pads to touch-and-go decks. Some are designed to blend subtly into the overall aesthetic, either on the aft or foredecks, while others are being designed as a stand-out feature.
Here we take a look at the top10 most impressive yachts with helipads;
Built by Fincantieri in 2011, Serene makes the top 10 list because she boasts not one but two helipads, one of which converts into a swimming pool when not in use. She was also designed with a helicopter hangar, meaning her helicopters can be stored safely away when the ship is underway as well as allowing for more deck space. Did you know, it is safer to land a helicopter on the aft helipad when the yacht is moving? The reason for this is that being underway gives the yacht more stability.
When Oceanco rolled out 81 metre Alfa Nero in 2007 jaws around the world dropped. At the heart of her exterior design was a huge infinity pool with a glass aft end for uninterrupted views of the sea. Blink, however, and the pool disappears. The floor of the pool can be raised to create a shallow children’s pool, or brought fully up to create a dancefloor or, yes you guessed it, a helicopter landing pad. In keeping with the yacht’s style and elegance, even the helipad is adorned with a teak H.
Almost all of the world’s largest superyachts have helipads on them and Eclipse, standing as one of the largest on the planet at 162 metre is no exception. In fact, this Goliath of yachts – which is owned by Roman Abramovich - has space to accommodate not one, but three helicopters as well as a hangar below the foredeck which acts as a specially designed heli-garage. Eclipse does everything on a grand scale. Even her swimming pool was, at the time of launch, the largest ever built on a superyacht at 16 metres in length.
There is a new breed of explorer superyacht hitting the seas, and for anyone setting off to explore the most remote parts of the world a helicopter is a must. The 73-metre Planet Nine was built to cruise the planet’s most challenging corners, including expeditions in the Antarctic. As such, she was designed to accommodate two helicopters. Thanks to the use of a huge lift, one chopper can be stowed beneath the helipad in a hangar to make room for a second to land. Because of her long-range explorer capabilities, Planet Nine is also equipped with helicopter refuelling equipment.
If we’re talking about superyachts geared for adventure then the beautiful 72-metre Cloudbreak designed by Espen Øino must make the list. Built-in 2016 for her adventurous owner, she has everything an adrenaline junkie could ever want, including a helipad. Her owner uses the helicopter to enjoy a spot of heli-skiing on inaccessible mountains blanketed in virgin snow. In fact, there’s even a cinema lounge next to the helideck – perfect for watching helmet footage of the day’s exploits.
On some yachts, the helipad is designed to be as inconspicuous as possible, blending into the overall aesthetic. Lady Christine isn’t one of those yachts. The owner of this 68 metre Feadship was a helicopter pilot himself and so the design very much focused around the helipad, with guests being able to step from the doors of the chopper and into an enclosed sundeck – the aptly named skylounge – in a few paces. The skylonge also doubles as a shelter from winds for greater ease of take-off and landing, showing just how much thought has gone into this key feature of the yacht.
Also on the list is 72 metre Stella Maris, also by esteemed designer Espen Øino. Like the Lady Christine, Stella Maris’ helipad has been built as a focal point of the exterior design. A huge H sits in the middle of the sundeck, where loungers and adjacent twin swimming pools provide a central space for socialising and entertaining. When it’s time to jet off however, the sunbeds are rolled away and the deck is the perfect helipad. It’s a bold design which is moving away from attempting to hide the helicopter deck but instead creates a centrepiece with a dual purpose.
Another impressive bit of helipad design is seen on the 66 metre Feadship Vanish. Its main helicopter landing area is on the foredeck, however, this yacht unusually has two helipads. A second deck on the aft of the ship is used to store the helicopter when the boat is underway. It means the helicopter has to be moved after passengers have disembarked on the foredeck but provides a secure space for longer passages. The foredeck acts as a landing area for daily operations and can be kept there for very short voyages or on anchor.
Built-in 2015 by Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven, the 107 metre Andromeda – which was named Ulysses when she was first launched – is one of the world’s most astounding explorer yachts. She is designed to cruise through the ice, has an 8,500nm range, and is ready to tackle any destination on the planet in the utmost of luxury. And alongside her commercial helipad, Andromeda also has a heli-hangar on the top deck. It provides both safe storages of the helicopter when the yacht is underway, and enough space to act as a workshop for essential maintenance. Check this Acury Kokomo Ailand MegaYacht for Sale
While superyachts aren’t short on space, it makes sense to maximise the use of a helipad when there isn’t a chopper in situ. The 95-metre Lürssen superyacht Kismet doubles up as a basketball court, with markings painted on it as well as the H. The helipad on this yacht is known as a touch-and-go, meaning choppers land, its passengers disembark and then it takes off again. The helicopter can’t be stored on board, but Kismet’s sports-loving owner wouldn’t want to disrupt the basketball for too long anyway.
This article was published in June 2019 and was last updated in January 2023.
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