A Huey helicopter can cost anywhere between $150,000 to $3 million.
Huey helicopters were very popular in the 1980s, and were one of the most used helicopters in the Vietnam War, but their popularity has waned since then.
Having said that, they are still used today in a variety of capacities, though most Huey helicopters currently in use are just old choppers from the twentieth century.
Huey helicopters are also comparatively cheap to buy compared to other models, mostly because they’re now outdated, and there are virtually no new units.
Huey choppers are still used for military and civilian purposes nowadays, and you can even purchase one if you wanted to.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much a Huey Helicopter Costs
- 2 How Much Does Huey Helicopter Variants Cost
- 3 How Much a Huey Helicopter Costs to Operate?
- 4 Civilians Can Buy Used Huey Helicopters
- 5 Huey Helicopters Are Still in Operation
How Much a Huey Helicopter Costs
Huey civilian helicopters cost anywhere between $150,000 to $3 million, depending on its variant, production date, and variant.
The cost of military Huey helicopters is not publicly disclosed.
Huey helicopters are less expensive than models from other manufacturers, whose helicopters easily start at a base of several millions of dollars.
Generally, military variants of Huey choppers are the most expensive, as they include advanced avionics systems and military equipment absent from civilian variants.
Most civilian Huey helicopters are converted military models.
How Much Does Huey Helicopter Variants Cost
The UH-1D is one of Huey’s most widely manufactured and used helicopters.
There have been over 2,000 units of the UH-1D produced, though it is now out of production.
A UH-1D costs anywhere between $350,000 to $750,000.
The UH-1Js was designed for the Japan Ground Self Defense Force by Fuji.
The UH-1J has minor upgrades over the previous UH-1D.
This chopper was recently purchased by the Japanese Ministry of Defense in 2021.
The Ministry of Defense paid $240 million for 150 UH-1J helicopters, which equals around $1.6 million per unit.
The Bell UH-1N Twin Huey is a military helicopter.
It was first developed in 1969, and was mostly employed by special forces for nighttime operations.
The Bell UH-1N has been retired, but if we adjust for inflation, a UH-1N would cost $2.5 million per unit in 2022.
The UH-1Y Venom, also known as the Super Huey, is primarily used by the United States Marine Corp.
It’s a twin-engine helicopter that was designed as part of the U.S. Marine Corps upgrade program.
In 2017, 12 UH-1Ys were sold to the Czech Republic for $575 million, but this figure also contains payment for related systems and support for the helicopters, so we can’t determine the individual cost per unit.
The Bell 204 and 205 are both civilian versions of the UH-1.
The Bell 204 and 205 are both used for various civilian purposes like transportation and crop dusting.
The Bell 204 costs an average of $300,000 to purchase, but it’s possible to obtain older used versions for half the price.
The UH-1V is a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) helicopter that is mostly used by the US army, which converted the UH-1H Huey into the UH-1V.
The US army converted over 200 UH-1s into UH-1 Vs in the 1980s.
The UH-1V has no onboard weapons. Instead, they’re equipped with 6 litters for carrying the wounded.
While the official cost of obtaining a UH-1V is not publicly disclosed, some defense analysts speculate that the U.S. army saves between $300,000 to $500,000 when they convert a UH-1 into a UH-1V instead of acquiring a new MEDEVAC helicopter.
How Much a Huey Helicopter Costs to Operate?
Cost Per Hour
It costs between $535 and $900 to fly a Huey helicopter per hour, depending on its model.
Cost of Fuel
Huey helicopters have fuel tanks of nearly 220 gallons, so the average cost of fueling a Huey helicopter would range from $680-$900.
But, this depends largely on the price and supplier of the aviation gas.
Helicopters have generally high maintenance costs as they must adhere to numerous certifications for being airworthy.
Depending on the model, it can cost anywhere between $250,000 to $1.5 million per year to maintain a Huey helicopter.
The wide cost range is also caused by the fact that it’s substantially easier to maintain a Huey helicopter in some regions than others.
Some defense experts claim that new Huey helicopters are almost 42% more efficient in operating costs than older ones.
Civilians Can Buy Used Huey Helicopters
Civilians can buy used Huey helicopters, but are only permitted to use the helicopter under strict conditions and government regulations.
To obtain a Huey helicopter, civilians must present their needs to relevant government departments.
Most civilian Huey helicopters are purchased by the fire and police departments, who are required to obtain licenses and follow regulations.
Private ownership of Huey helicopters is also possible, but it is extremely restricted.
Private citizens need to pay expensive licensing fees and other costs while acquiring a Huey helicopter.
Huey Helicopters Are Still in Operation
There are Huey helicopters that are still used, but the vast majority of these helicopters are nearing retirement age.
Most of these old Huey helicopters are used by:
- The US Air Force, Army and Marine Corp
- The Australian Army
- The German Military
- The Israeli Military
- The Japanese Armed Forces
The United States Air Force uses UH-1Ns to support ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) sites and VIP transport.
In 2018, the United States Air Force announced that they would begin replacing their fleet of UH-1Ns with Boeing/Leonardo MH-139s. So the use of Hueys will decrease in the near future.
Civilian Huey helicopters are more widely used. Civilian Huey helicopters are mostly used by the police and fire departments since Huey helicopters are capable and offer excellent value for money.
Overall, though, despite their ubiquitousness, civilian Huey helicopters are likely to become phased out in the following decades.
In conclusion, a Huey helicopter costs anywhere between $150,000 to $3 million, making them relatively cheaper than most other helicopters.
Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.
Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.
Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.