High Altitude: ACH130

Auto Lifestyle

— Aston Martin Lagonda and Airbus Corporate Helicopters reveal a special edition ACH130 in the heart of the French Alps.

It was a clear day in January, and the mountains were blanketed with fresh snow. Helicopter blades beat the air overhead, descending on Courchevel. At the intersection of the world’s largest ski area in the French Alps—where a car ride from the nearest major city (Geneva) will run you upwards of two hours—it’s not uncommon for VIPs to chopper in for a weeklong holiday. But on this particular day, heads turn. A chopper unlike any other passes swiftly above the alpine landscape, and makes way for a landing at Courchevel.

Ice creeps closer to the red “H” of the helipad where the mysterious chopper is greeted by the new Aston Martin DBX—the brand’s stunning first attempt at an SUV. The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is the fruit of a recent partnership between Aston Martin Lagonda and Airbus Corporate Helicopters. Even after the blades of the ACH130 come to a spinning halt and the sweeping snows they’ve roused up dissipate, its sleek appearance is noble and dominant. Even private jet owners look on with awe-inspiring envy.

Private jets have long since become a symbol of modern luxury. But thanks to charter memberships and empty leg programs, you don’t have to be a head of state or Hollywood royalty to hitch a ride. For the world’s real VIPs, few assets epitomize luxury the way a private, cutting-edge helicopter can. Just as times have changed with the private jet industry, so too does the tide with choppers. Discerning individuals are looking for more than just an expensive workday ride. They’re aspiring to fly in total comfort and luxury.

Much like owning a private helicopter, owning an Aston Martin is for the real movers and shakers. Every model may not be the most expensive auto on the market, but few vehicles can replicate the experience that comes along with driving one. The feel of its handcrafted leather. The sound. The power of the ignition. Aston’s strong brand identity simply cannot be replicated—one that’s stood the test of time.

The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition endeavors to emulate its bespoke namesake, albeit in the air. The model comes in four unique varieties, each one fusing the quality of service Airbus Corporate Helicopters is known for with the handcrafted aesthetic of Aston Martin. Nearly a year in the making, the collaboration yields a remarkable sight on the tarmac—embellished with signature Aston Martin elements such as the brand’s iconic wing embossment.

Above, the ACH130’s premier model is decked in Skyfall Silver around its cowlings, featuring a Stirling Green-themed exterior. Below, the painted gradient fades down into Aston Martin’s signature Jet Black beneath the choppers landing skids. The chopper offers three other Aston Martin paint colors comprised of Xenon Grey, Arizona and Ultramarine Black. But regardless of the palette, the ACH130 is an unmistakable beacon of luxury.

Inside, the Stirling Green model offers a cabin reminiscent of the luxury and comfort of Aston’s premier autos. The backbone of this design are seats trimmed in Aston’s Pure Black ultra-suede and Oxford Tan—with a swathe of different signature leathers to choose from including but not limited to Ivory and Cormorant. The brogue detailing of the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition’s interior is identical to that of the 2020 DB11 coupe. Around the cabin, leather trim touchpoints add additional comfort for flight. Inside and out, the audacious chopper is one worthy of Aston’s “Power. Beauty. Soul.” slogan.

ACH130

“We have our own set of automotive design principles but in recent years we have been learning how to apply our principles to other areas of design, such as architecture, motorcycles and now helicopters,” said Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. “This first application of our design practices to a helicopter posed a number of interesting challenges but we have enjoyed working through them. 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 provided a wonderful canvas for our team to work on so we now look forward to seeing everybody’s reaction.”

For Airbus Corporate—who are the global market leaders in the private and business aviation sector—the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition collaboration was very much about bringing together automotive and aeronautical design as one. For a company that generated roughly $70 billion in revenues in 2018, they wanted to make something for helicopter owners who take great pride in their personalized transportation while invoking a sense of brand loyalty—something Aston Martin has long been known for. 

“The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is optimally positioned in the market for hands-on owners who draw satisfaction from personally piloting their aircraft and it generates strong brand-loyalty,” Frédéric Lemos, Head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters, explained. “In the same way Aston Martin’s products are cars for drivers who relish being at the wheel and they inspire a comparable attachment to the brand. So they are the perfect partner for us in developing this superb new ACH130 Aston Martin Edition.” 

The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is the first collaboration for the two high-profile brands. Deliveries of the new model have begun as of 2020’s first quarter.

By Michael Scivoli

Michael is the Editorial Director of VUE Magazine. He enjoys scotch and poetry, and of course, his dog Baxter.

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