Every time I watch a Formula 1 race in person, another vehicle almost steals the show away from the cars on track: the broadcast helicopter. Whoever pilots the TV helicopter for the United States Grand Prix isn’t scared to swoop in closer to the track than you’d ever expect. Those trick chase shots come from somewhere, after all.
Airbus wanted to steal a little bit of that F1 magic to promote their new ACH160 helicopter, so they sent it to chase a Renault F1 car around Circuit Paul Ricard. Because there aren’t any other cars or fans to worry about, this helicopter runs even closer to the track, and it’s awesome.
The ACH160 is a $14 million luxury version of Airbus’ H160 that can seat up to 10 people, according to Business Insider. ACH is for “Airbus Corporate Helicopters,” which is its arm for custom business or personal orders. You know, the fancy lads.
Sending it to chase Daniel Ricciardo by diving around a track shows off how nimble this big boy can be in the most awesome way possible. Seriously, some of these shots look like the heli is about to land on track. Then it pulls nearly straight up at the finish line. Show-off.
F1 uses a different Airbus helicopter for their trick TV shots, given that they don’t need 10 passengers of butt space. Formula 1 has a cool explainer video here (which we sadly can’t embed but is worth the click) of their aerial shots that shows an AS355 NP kitted out with a 360-degree stabilized camera rig.
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