As United States President Donald Trump braces himself for November 03’s Presidential Elections at the back of the final Presidential debate against Democratic Candidate Joe Biden, America’s throne is not the only thing that might be up for grabs in less than two weeks.
While the New York-born, 75-year-old Trump has done all in his power to latch on to the Presidency as he plans to start a second term as the 45th President of the country, he is reportedly ready to let go of one of his three iconic Sikorsky S-76B helicopters.
The gold-trimmed 1989 Sikorsky S-76B helicopter worth $875,000, which has been a mainstay in Trump’s career, has now been made available to suitors at a price of $2,800,000, with reports suggesting that the sale comes due to Trump’s billion-dollar campaign losing its ‘cash advantage’.
Trump’s luxurious, leather-seated, gold, and African mahogany-trimmed helicopter is no stranger to public light, having carved a name for itself after being featured in the opening sequence of his 2004 American Television program, “The Apprentice”, which judged the business skills of a group of contestants.
The famous chopper, which has also been featured in CNBC’s “Secret Lives of the Super Rich” in a section titled “Pimp My Chopper”, has logged a total of roughly 6,259 hours of flight time.
While the helicopter, which is being sold by the joint team of Canada-based Aero Asset and US-based Jet Edge Partners, will still carry the US civil registration code N76DT, a clear reference to Donald Trump, it will be stripped off the large “TRUMP” logo on the tail boom.
While the handsomely built chopper is well known for being large and more complex in structure and utility as compared to other civilian choppers, it’s the luxurious interiors have drawn the attention of spectators all over.
The chopper, which has often compared to a Cadillac or a limousine for its comfortable interior, has six leather-covered seats with actual gold seat belts, along with other gold fittings inside the cabin, a Trump hallmark, and African Mahogany veneers.
Moreover, the chopper also boasts of a six-place executive cabin interior with paneling & soundproofing system, an overhead emergency lighting, four refreshments, condiment & ice storage drawers, a central zone drinks cabinet with 3 decanters, and a Scott Groups custom dual tan saint john carpet.
Joseph Trevithick, while writing for The Drive, says – “N76DT is not just a bespoke flying chariot for any very wealthy buyer, it’s also something of a historical artifact now.”
The S-76B is part of the S-76 series of medium-size multi-purpose civilian helicopters, which have been built by American aerospace giants Lockheed Martin, who are also the developers of US’ most prominent fighter jets like the F-35s, F-22 Raptors, and F-16s.
The helicopter is powered by two engines made by aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, along with a host of other additions made to it, which include improved avionics.
“The improved S-76B, an outgrowth of a helicopter Sikorsky originally marketed as the S-76 Mk II, had more powerful engines, as well as improved avionics and other upgrades that allowed for true all-weather operation. S-76 series helicopters, including further improved S-76C variants, have seen some use with militaries and other security forces,” said Trevithick.
Over 875 such helicopters have been sold globally, with more than 10 percent of the fleet’s flight hours being used to fly in critical life-saving missions of Search and Rescue and Helicopter Air Ambulance transportation.
The S-76 helicopters, which are renowned for being used for VIP transportation and utility work, have been consistently dependable for all mission segments over the years. While 10 countries operate the S-76 helicopters for the Head of State Mission, over 178 customers use the helicopters in a corporate or a VIP role.
The iconic helicopters have been a go-to choice for VIPs for as long as one can remember with them being used by Trump and a host of other celebrities. The choppers have famously been used by the heads of state and royalty which include the Queen of England.
Aviation analyst Miles O’Brien says – “It’s a workhorse. It’s the flying Lincoln Town Car for executives. This is what corporate helicopter aviation is built on — on this Sikorsky,”
It’s twin-engine. It’s reliable. It’s safe. It’s capable.”
However, despite being rated as one of the safest helicopters in the world, it was the same chopper in which Basketball legend Kobe Bryant along with his daughter Gianna and seven others breathed their last, after the helicopter crashed in the Calabasas city, 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles at the beginning of the year.
Earlier, there had been two other fatal crashes involving the chopper, with a medical helicopter crashing in Canada in 2013 killing four people on board and in 2017, when another chopper crashed in Turkey, killing seven people.
However, despite the unfortunate list of incidents, the S-76B version, which was introduced in 1987, still garners a reputation of being a solid, sturdy, and a safe aircraft.