Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition: A Luxury Helicopter Fit for 007

Aston Martin is a brand irreversibly linked with 007 and the James Bond universe. It doesn't matter how much Aston tries to stand out on their own. It's a correlation nearly as old as Aston Martin themselves. With that said, if you're going to rock the Bond aesthetic, you may as well double down.
Airbus ACH-130 Aston Martin Edition 15 photos
Photo: Airbus/ Aston Martin
ACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin EditionACH130 Aston Martin Edition
Evidently, Airbus's helicopter division was thinking just that. Because the Airbus ACH-130 Aston Martin Edition luxury private helicopter is the kind of aircraft that Mr. Bond and company would feel right at home inside. It may be built by a company more known for its jumbo jets instead of rotary aircraft, but trust us, that's only beneficial.

There's a remarkably colorful and interesting story behind how this single-engined light helicopter wound up in the hands of the company behind the world's largest commercial airliner. The EC-130 utility helicopter began life under a different moniker entirely, known as Eurocopter. It itself consists of the French aerospace company called Aerospatiale.

The type originates in the Aerospatiale AS350 Z, a heavily modified variant of the company's previous AS350 B3 Écureuil rotorcraft. By 1999, Aerospatiale had been fully merged into Eurocopter, which would then become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus.

Makers of the famed A-380 that still remains the world's largest mass-produced airliner. In June of 1999, the all-new EC130 was ready to take to the skies. Little did Airbus know at the time, they had their hands on quite a capable, luxurious personal helicopter platform. Don't worry. They'd figure that out in due time.

ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
Photo: Aston Martin
With dual hydraulic control surfaces, an enclosed anti-torque device for improved stability, and more internal space than almost all of its rivals, all that was needed was some leather seats and some LCD screens to become a desirable private chopper.

By 2008, the EC-130 had overtaken the Bell 206 as the highest-selling single-engine production helicopter on the global market. Ironically, for a European company, much of its clientele came from the United States and South America.

It was enough of an impetus for a special VIP edition of the chopper to begin its design phase. A transformation that was slated to turn an excellent but admittedly spartan utility helicopter into a Rolls Royce with rotors. Or an Aston Martin with rotors, in this case. Available in four exterior colors ranging from Xenon Grey, Arizona Tan, Ultramarine Black, and Stirling Green, the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition doesn't even attempt to hide its target audience.

But then again, why should it? It sells itself in a strange way, with the fancy sponsorship from the world's most famous fictional spy and all. Interior leather sporting a similar color palette to the exterior ensures that whichever millionaire buys this helicopter feels content with their choices. Said leather-trimmed seats are embroidered with the same detailed stitching as is found in the DB 11 Grand Tourer.

ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
Photo: Aston Martin
It's a motif found throughout the cabin of this limited edition chopper, no matter what the choice of interior color. A special metal plaque is placed on the instrument panel of every ACH-130 Aston Martin Edition. Just in case you suffered a bout of amnesia and forgot your own name, as well as the sponsorship, the Aston logo with the owner's name is embossed right onto it.

Powering this exclusive and highly valuable helicopter is one Safran Arriel 2D turboshaft engine jetting 950 shaft horsepower to tow the 2,500-kilogram (5,512 lb) max takeoff weight of this bird to a cruising speed of 237 kilometers per hour (147 mph, 128 kn). A useable fuel capacity of 538.7 liters (142.3 US gal; 118.5 imp gal) allows for a range of around 600 kilometers. (377 mi).

In short, a helicopter of this caliber could complete a journey from New York City to Philadelphia in around 45 minutes, or more than twice as fast as you could manage with an Aston Martin DB-11 in New Jersey traffic. At the cost of around what it costs to put fuel in a DB-11 for an entire year if you're chartering the thing. We can only assume rich people can afford to make such a dramatic and dynamic entry.

Of course, a helicopter with this level of exclusivity and custom features is going to vary in price on a case-by-case basis. But rest assured, this is an easy $3 million helicopter any day of the week, rain or shine. This is why when you see an Airbus Helicopter flying around, chances are it isn't one of the Aston Martin editions. But if you do see one, you'll absolutely remember it.

ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
Photo: Aston Martin
Check back for more from Limited Edition Month here on autoevolution.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories