It is no secret that Donald Trump loves aviation, and part of his plan to capture the hearts and minds of Iowa caucus voters includes offering one of his $7M helicopters to take kids for free rides at the country fair. The Iowa State Fair has denied Trump’s aviation outreach dream, with a spokesman stating, “that will not be happening on Iowa State Fair grounds.”
Although Trump was reportedly willing to incur all risk and liability while offering the helicopter rides to Iowa youth, it looks like the LZ will be a little too hot for him this time around. The representative from the Iowa State Fair did clarify that Trump could still offer the rides, just not from within the event boundaries.
Trump owns at least three Sikorsky S-76’s, with one based in New York, another based in Florida and a third based in the U.K. The S-76 aircraft that he intended to bring to Iowa is valued at $7 million and based in New York. It features a custom luxury interior, finished in Trump’s familiar panache for opulence, gold plating and grandeur.
Two of Trump’s aircraft are painted in a mostly-black livery with red trim, while two others are painted in a contrasting mostly-white livery with red trim. Both liveries feature Trump’s name painted highly visibly on the exterior.
At 52 feet in length and powered by twin turboshaft engines, the Sikorsky S-76 is a powerful helicopter, with many operators using them for air ambulance or oil platform transportation missions. Military versions of the S-76 are in service with over a dozen countries, and the Queen of England uses the model for personal transportation as well.
The centerpiece of Trump’s air force is a Boeing 757 converted into a luxurious flying mansion. The aircraft was previously owned by fellow Billionaire Paul Allen and went through a total refurbishment when Trump acquired it in 2006. Before the 757, Trump had a widely known and lavishly equipped 727 which was sold to Weststar, a VIP transport service in Malaysia.
He also previously operated an airline—not surprisingly called Trump Airlines—which despite featuring such enticing features as gold lavatory fixtures and chrome seatbelt buckles, was never profitable.
Will The Donald still fly his Sikorsky to Iowa? Well aside from trying to fly kids around at the country fair, he would not be the first candidate to use a helicopter on the campaign trail. No matter what his chances are for the White House in 2016, Donald Trump is probably the only candidate who wouldn’t be all that impressed with Marine One.
Photo credits: Top shot - Scott Heppell/AP, Middle shot - Scott Heppell/AP, Bottom shot - LM Otero/AP
Follow the author on Twitter: @collinkrum