When Las Vegas helicopter tour operator Sundance Helicopters decided to update its livery as part of a company-wide rebranding, it decided that not just any helicopter paint scheme would do.
“We wanted to do something new and fresh that also fits with Las Vegas,” explained Sundance Helicopters CEO Bob Engelbrecht. That’s when they hit upon the idea of a chrome finish for their new Airbus Helicopters EC130 T2s, which will replace Sundance’s existing tour helicopters over coming years. Robert Mitchell of Simple Design, Inc. came up with an eye-catching paint scheme for the aircraft, which evokes Vegas luxe with silver and gold chrome.
There was just one problem: most people said that chrome-plating a helicopter couldn’t be done. For a solution, Sundance Helicopters — which was purchased by Air Methods Corp. in late 2012 — turned to sister Air Methods division United Rotorcraft, which developed a proprietary plating process that applies seven-and-a-half ounces of pure silver directly onto the aircraft. In this video, David Brigham, United Rotorcraft’s managing director, Decatur operations, explains how the company turned Mitchell’s vision into a reality.
According to Engelbrecht, the unique paint scheme has been attracting notice and praise around Las Vegas, including compliments from other pilots. Although there were some concerns that the paint scheme might prove to be blinding in bright sunlight, he said that has turned out not to be the case.
“When we’re up flying, it just shows up very well,” he said. “It definitely sparkles.”