EXTREME EXPLORERS



The Most Desirable Porsches



Porsche RSR/935 (1974-1979)
Estimated Value: In excess of $1 million
Units Built: Approximately 100
Speed: 180-200 mph

This model became the factory racing version of the 911 turbo prepared for the FIA Group 5 rules. Later, the successor, 935, went on to win the 1979 LeMans Endurance Race overall, and other major endurance races, including Sebring, Daytona and the 1000-km Nürburgring. 




Bell Helicopter unveiled a full-scale model of its newest helicopter, the 525 Relentless, with great fanfare at the Heli-Expo trade show in February. The 525 creates a new class of helicopter, the super-medium, and is designed to carry up to 16 passengers, with more space and bigger seats than in competing models. Built from an entirely clean-sheet design, the 525 employs several technological innovations, including fly-by-wire flight controls, two all-new powerful and efficient GE turbine engines, and a new tail boom that delivers better hover performance. Designed for the oil industry’s demanding needs to fly in all weather conditions over long distances with heavy payloads at economical operating costs, the 525 also will be available in a VIP corporate configuration. Bell has not yet released a price or an estimated time for first delivery, but the company expects the first prototype to take flight in 2014. (817.280.2011, www.bellhelicopter.com)

EXTREME EXPLORERS



South California, USA
Price: u$s 17.500.000.- (without the yacht)

The Most Desirable Porsches



Porsche 911 Carrera RS (1973-1974)
Estimated Value: $250,000
Units Built: 1,580
Speed: 150 mph

After a seven-year absence, the name Carrera re-appeared on the Porsche 911 RS for 1973. The limited production RS (Rennsport) was intended for Group 4 GT Sports racing by reason of its lightweight body. It has a 2.7-liter Carrera engine with 210 hp. 





When the owner of the 121-foot expedition yacht Jasmin wanted a new yacht, he envisioned the features that made her a hit on the charter circuit, with a few twists. E&E is the result, measuring 138 feet. Built by Turkey-based Cizgi Yacht and designed by Holland-based Vripack, E&E places all guest accommodations on the bridge deck, just like Jasmin did. It’s a welcome surprise for a yacht of her size. A further surprise is the inclusion of private balconies for two of the guest staterooms. Friends or family on charter with them won’t feel they’re losing out without a balcony, though, given that E&Ehas more than 2,745 square feet of rest and relaxation space. Indeed, the yacht’s general arrangement makes you feel as if you’re aboard a far larger vessel. And don’t forget the array of water toys, including the fun Waterbuggy pictured. E&Echarters for 145,000 euros (about $185,000) through YPI Group. (+33.493.340.100, www.ypigroup.com)

Brad´s Motorcycles

The Most Desirable Porsches



Porsche 911S (1967/1969)
Estimated Value: $70,000
Units Built: 6,250
Speed: 130 mph

"The 911 was designed by Dr. Ferry Porsche's eldest son, Butzi," Raskin said.

It featured a very sleek aerodynamic steel body with a two-liter, 130-hp, six-cylinder Porsche engine coupled to a five-speed transmission. According to Raskin, the most desirable 911S model featured a larger 160-hp engine. 

The Most Desirable Porsches



Porsche 356 Carrera GT Coupe (1956-1964)
Estimated Value: In excess of $275,000
Units Built: Fewer than 200
Speed: 125 mph

The 356 GT Coupe is the most recognized Porsche model for its aerodynamics, quality and superior handling on the road as well as its ability to win on the race track, according to Raskin. There were also several special Carrera GT coupes made for endurance racing, using lightweight aluminum bodies by Abarth. 

The Most Desirable Porsches



Porsche 550 Spyder (1953-1955)
Estimated Value: In excess of $1.5 million
Units Built: 90
Speed: 130 mph

“Porsche’s first true sports racing efforts came from the 550 Series in 1953, when it entered the 110-hp engine in the LeMans 24-hour endurance race," Raskin said. 

Aircraft With Unusual Purposes


Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo
Space Plane

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is an air-launched space plane designed to carry tourists to the edge of space. The venture is part of business tycoon Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The aircraft is based on SpaceShipOne, a revolutionary sub-orbital rocket designed by the aerospace designer Burt Rutan.

The company is planning its first passenger spaceship flight this summer in a bid to become the world’s only commercial spaceliner service.

SpaceShipTwo will be carried to launch altitude by a mothership called the WhiteKnightTwo. The smaller plane, powered by a hybrid rocket, will then fly to an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers). The journey, which is expected to last three and half hours to the edge of space, and back, will cost $200,000 per passenger. The 60-feet long space plane can carry six people, plus two pilots.

About 430 people have already purchased the suborbital trip, according to Virgin Galactic’s website. That compares to only 525 people have gone to space in human history. In October, the company also announced a deal with NASA, which chartered one full flight with options for two additional flights in a contract worth $4.5 million. Virgin Galactic plans to start commercial operations from its Spaceport America station in New Mexico by 2013.

The Most Desirable Porsches



Porsche 356 Carrera GT Speedster (1954-1959)
Estimated Value: In excess of $500,000
Units Built: 151
Speed: 125 mph

“Bruce ‘King Carrera’ Jennings was among one of the most successful Carrera GT Speedster race-car drivers in America, winning SCCA Championships during the early 1960s,” Raskin said. 

Aircraft With Unusual Purposes


RQ-170 Sentinel
Stealth Drone

The RQ-170 Sentinel is a stealth drone used by the U.S. military for reconnaissance missions.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was developed by Lockheed Martin and has reportedly been used by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since 2007. The air force didn’t acknowledge its existence until 2009 when images surfaced of the drone. As part of the CIA’s most advanced and sensitive surveillance systems, little information has been released about the drone’s capabilities. Images online show a tail-less bat-wing aircraft. Its RQ designation implies that the UAV is unarmed.

The Sentinel was reportedly used for surveillance of Osama bin Laden’s compound during the Navy SEAL mission in Pakistan in May 2011.

The drone made headlines in December when the Iranian government showed television footage of what they claimed was an RQ-170 (pictured) in their possession after the drone was shot down while flying in Iranian air space. U.S. officials acknowledged that a highly sensitive drone crashed in Iran a week prior because of a malfunction, but said the aircraft had not landed intact. Iranian state television went on to report that the government would try to reverse engineer the U.S. drone  and was in the final stages of unlocking the aircraft’s software secrets.

Aircraft With Unusual Purposes


Antonov AN-225 Mriya
Space Shuttle Carrier

The Antonov AN-225 Mriya is the world’s heaviest aircraft and the biggest plane to ever be built. With six engines and a capacity of 250 tons, the aircraft can carry up to 50 vehicles on board.

The AN-225 was initially designed to transport the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet space program. The first aircraft was launched in 1988, while a planned second was never completed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Currently, the AN-225 is in commercial use for the Ukrainian cargo company Antonov Airlines, carrying oversized payloads that were once thought impossible to transport by air. Discussing the value of the aircraft last year, Antonov CEO Kostiantyn Lushakov said the creation of a second AN-225 would require at least $300 million in funding and take three years to complete.

The aircraft has been used by a number of international aid agencies to provide relief after natural disasters. In 2011, it delivered humanitarian cargo, generators and equipment weighing 140 tons to Japan after the March earthquake and tsunami. The aircraft was also used to carry heavy construction equipment to quake-stricken Haiti in 2010.

Aircraft With Unusual Purposes


WP-3D Orion
Hurricane Hunters

The Lockheed WP-3D Orion, also known as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) hurricane hunters, are flown into hurricanes at altitudes of up to 25,000 feet to collect weather data like the storm’s path and intensity.

Introduced in 1976, only two of these highly modified P-3 Orion aircraft exist. The turboprop planes are equipped with advanced scientific instruments like radars, sensors and recording systems to measure the atmosphere, climate trends and environmental factors like the state of the ocean and its fish population. In addition to hurricane reconnaissance missions, P-3s also participate in international research programs. One example of its research capabilities occurred during BP’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. A hurricane hunter was sent out to monitor the air quality and pollution above the gulf.

Last September during hurricane Irene, two P-3 hurricane hunters made repeated flights into the storm to collect weather data, which helped the NOAA successfully predict the hurricane’s landfall in North Carolina and its destructive route up the East Coast. But proposed cuts to the U.S. weather agency’s budget, which includes an over 40 percent reduction in funding for hurricane hunters, could undermine the aircraft's future.

Aircraft With Unusual Purposes


Erickson S-64 Aircrane
Skycrane

The Erickson S-64 Aircrane is a twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter that can carry an external load of up to 25,000 pounds at sea level. It is also the first helicopter to be built that gives the pilot an unobstructed view of the load being carried.

The S-64 Aircrane, formerly known as the S-64 Skycrane, was originally manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft in 1962, but its production rights were bought over by the Erickson Air-Crane company 30 years later. Erickson has made over 1,350 modifications to the helicopter since 1992. The S-64 initially gained worldwide fame during the Vietnam War after its U.S. Army model — the CH-54A “Tarhe” — was used to retrieve damaged aircraft and helicopters. In all, 380 damaged aircraft were retrieved, saving the military an estimated $240 million.

Since entering the civil aviation market in 1969, the aircraft has been involved in the construction of some of the world’s most famous landmarks. In 1975, it was used to lift the top section of the CN tower in Toronto — the world’s tallest free-standing tower at the time. In 1993, the Aircrane was contracted to remove and replace the “Statue of Freedom,” which sits on top of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. The Aircrane has also played a key role in the energy sector globally. Since 1971, the aircraft has been used to construct over 8,000 miles of electrical transmission towers across North America.

Aircraft With Unusual Purposes


Bombardier 415
"Superscooper" — Water Bomber

The Bombardier 415 is an amphibious Canadian water bomber — the only aircraft specifically designed for aerial firefighting.

Also known as the "Superscooper" in the U.S., the Bombardier 415 was launched in 1994, and there are now 76 aircraft in service with more than 18 operators in 10 countries. The plane can scoop 1,621 gallons of water in 12 seconds while skimming water at a high speed. The aircraft can also complete nine drops within an hour, delivering a total of 14,600 gallons of water to douse bush or forest fires. The Bombardier 415 has also been utilized for humanitarian relief, search and rescue, surveillance and transporting workers.

In December, the aircraft type reached the milestone of flying over 200,000 hours and dropping over 1.3 billion gallons of water since its entry into the market nearly two decades ago. While the individual unit price hasn’t been disclosed, Bombardier did announce in March 2011 that it sold four 415 aircraft to an undisclosed customer for a total cost of around $162 million.

Aircraft With Unusual Purposes


Airbus A300-600ST
Beluga — Super Transporter

The Airbus’ Beluga is the world’s largest cargo carrier, designed to transport complete sections of aircraft.

Also known as the Super Transporter, the Beluga is more than 184 feet long and can carry a payload of 47 tons over a range of 900 nautical miles. A fleet of five Belugas is in operation today with Airbus, with the first being introduced in 1995. Its unique design, which includes the world’s largest main cargo deck, features a nose that opens to load the bulkiest items.

The Beluga was created as a solution to Airbus’ manufacturing needs. The multinational consortium manufactures sections of its aircraft in four European countries — France, Germany, Great Britain, and Spain. The sections, including fuselages and wings, are then transported by the Beluga to be assembled at a central location.

The Beluga has been used to carry space station payloads from Italy to the Kennedy Space Station in Florida, chartered to make commercial flights, and used to transport military helicopters, chemical tanks, and even large French paintings.