Aston Martins have proudly born a winged badge since 1927, with the first familiar iteration — inspired by the Egyptian scarab beetle — arriving in 1932. The badge took to the skies for real in 2018 with the Volante Vision Concept and it is now taking flight again. The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is the result of a new partnership with Airbus Corporate Helicopters, a division of the world’s leading aeronautics company. Distilling decades of helicopter knowledge into a sleek, high-performance machine aimed at enthusiastic owner-fliers, the ACH130 is the perfect match for Aston Martin’s commitment to beauty, hand-crafted materials and stylish forms.
London’s Battersea Heliport is the venue for the public debut of the very first ACH130 Aston Martin Edition. Call sign G-XAML glides gracefully down on to the helipad, incongruously located between rows of riverside apartment blocks, the strong winter sunlight flashing off its rotor blades. Finished in a gradient of Stirling Green and Jet Black, with Skyfall Silver detailing, this is an undeniably elegant flying machine. The ACH130 is fast, smooth and efficient, a seven-seater single-engine machine much favoured by owner-pilots. From the front of the cabin, it’s not hard to see why. A minimal instrument panel is all that stands between you and the expansive canopy, offering up panoramic views. Sporting and manoeuvrable, yet also practical, compact and efficient, the ACH130 is a true performer.
The partnership with Airbus breaks new ground for the marque, with each ACH130 interior transformed by the meticulous minds of Aston Martin’s design team, led by Marek Reichman, Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Aston Martin Lagonda. In addition to G-XAML’s striking livery, there are other interior and exterior design options available, including Xenon Grey, Arizona and Ultramarine Black. Naturally, Aston Martin’s signature elements are present throughout the cabin, where the car maker’s craftspeople have transformed the environment. Step on board and you are greeted by the familiar aroma of hand-finished leather — this first helicopter features Pure Black ultra-suede and leathers finished in Oxford Tan, although Pure Black, Cormorant and Ivory finishes are also available. Aston Martin’s iconic wings are embossed on to the headrests and other key elements, while the rear of the front seats feature the same brogue detailing that debuted in DB11.
Sporting and manoeuvrable, yet also practical, compact and efficient, the ACH130 is a true performer
“Comfort, materials, quality — these are the obvious things you see in a collaboration like this,” Reichman explains,
pointing out the attention to detail and the fact that it takes six to 12 weeks to create this bespoke interior. “The magic of a relationship like this is that we can learn more from our partners,” he continues. “With the helicopter, the structure can’t be changed, but materials, interior appointments and the like have all been altered and enhanced.” For example, Aston Martin’s own expert saddle maker created the leather seat-back attaché cases, and there is unlimited scope of trim choice through the Q by Aston Martin Division.
Frédéric Lemos, Head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters, explains that this aircraft is aimed at “hands-on owners who draw satisfaction from personally piloting their aircraft. It generates strong brand loyalty, just as Aston Martin’s vehicles are cars for drivers who relish being at the wheel.”
Reichman concurs. “Without a doubt, there will be Aston Martin Valkyrie customers who want a matching helicopter,” he says.
Before undertaking the project, the design guru researched the aviation market with one of London’s leading jet brokers and also delved into the complex world of aircraft certification. “We’ve had to do a lot of learning, from the materials and the graphics, through to what can be done with the communication systems,” he explains. “We don’t enter into partnerships lightly — we pick long-term partners, whether it’s G&G with our residences in Miami — which are now well on the way to completion in 2021 — or Brough Superior on the 100 motorbikes we’re building next year.
“We’re using our skill base in different ways because partnerships are a very important part of who we are,” he continues. “We have our own set of automotive design principles, but in recent years we’ve been learning how to apply these to other areas of design. Beauty is of vital importance to Aston Martin and to our customers and we think the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is an inherently beautiful machine. It has provided a wonderful canvas for our team to work on.”
As the first fruits of this innovative partnership lifts off from Battersea for a swift flight along the Thames, it cuts a striking dash against the blue sky, revealing a whole new way to experience Aston Martin’s essential values.
The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is available on request. airbuscorporatehelicopters.com