I was doing some research on a Bell 222 whose operator has painted the helicopter in the classic Airwolf two-tone scheme when I came across what is among the most lavish homes in America—one that came replete with a full-size replica of Stringfellow Hawke’s beloved “Lady.” The absolutely mind-boggling mansion in question, which is called “Billionaire” and was built by LA developer Bruce Makowsky, is perched high over Los Angeles in one of the most exclusive areas of Beverly Hills. It originally had an asking price of a whopping $250M when it was listed in 2017.
For the ultimate Airwolf fan, you can look at it like buying the helicopter and the house is free!
No really, even for this part of the Los Angeles area, this place is absolutely bonkers. Louis Vuitton bowling alley? Check. James Bond-themed movie theater? It’s got that. It even has its own ultralounge garage. Yes, you read that right, basically a gallery-like garage that takes up an entire floor and acts as your own personal vegas-like hostpot—one packed with $30M worth of exotic vehicles. The entire place is a big send-up to vehicles and industrial design.
Listen, at the time of it being put-up for sale, this was the most expensive house listed in America, OK. So yeah, we are talking batshit money here.
What’s so intriguing is that, from what we understand, it is very tough to get a private helipad in Los Angeles. So, this was basically an art installation, and to massive Airwolf fans like me, and maybe even you, the Lady is absolutely fine art, both in pop-culture and basic engineering aesthetic terms. The core Bell 222/230/430-series design remains one of the most attractive flying machines ever created. But really liking Airwolf and having a decommissioned Bell 222 with extremely accurate Airwolf modifications trucked and craned onto the roof of a home you plan of selling for a quarter of a billion dollars is a whole other level of commitment to the franchise.
Yeah, not exactly a feature for everyone. Quite the monumental risk actually, to the point where I can only solute the original owner.
Upon closer examination, the helicopter/art installation in question appeared very familiar, especially its fake rotors. One really high-quality Airworlf recreation did exist in a helicopter museum out east. So, I dug a little more, and here is what I found out.
Yes, the replica on the roof of the mansion is indeed this aircraft. Here is how it ended up there, according to the Tennessee Museum of Aviation, which displayed it for a period of time:
A new, full-size replica of the Airwolf helicopter was created by Steven W. Stull, for display in the Helicopter Headquarters museum located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, using a non-flying Bell 222 with molds taken directly from the originals used in the show. After the Helicopter Headquarters closed, the replica was put on loaned [sic], for display at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation located in Sevierville, Tennessee, between 2007–2015. The owner of the Airwolf replica sold the Bell 222 to a private collector in California. The replica is now on top of a $250 million mansion in Bel Air, California.
After it was sold on eBay, the new owner had it shipped via truck to famed car customizer West Coast Customs in Los Angeles.
“Yo dawg,” the West Coast Customs tie in is pretty interesting. Obviously having a replica like this inside a museum is one thing, having it be able to weather the elements outside atop a cliff is another. Also, the long-grounded Bell 222 had some hangar rash that needed to be cleaned up.
So, that all makes sense now, but here’s the catch—the aircraft was removed by the mansion’s new owner during the summer of 2019. Also of note, the fake grass helipad it was sitting on is no longer marked with an “H” either. This isn’t surprising, really. Having a non-functioning helicopter sitting atop your house really isn’t something most super wealthy people are looking for, Airwolf or not.
That leads us to what is now a burning question, where did this high-quality recreation end up? It turns out that the aircraft was hoisted off the mansion and sent to Celebrity Helicopters at Compton Airport.
From what we can tell, she still sits outside the hangar of Celebrity Helicopters/Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum there as part of a display that includes other famous or iconic helicopters types:
So, there you have it. The mansion that had its own Airwolf may no longer be a thing, but the replica still exists. And as with so many of these things, the story of how the aircraft ended up there and what happened to it is more interesting than anything else.
At least in this case, it aviation heirloom still survives, so no reason to play a sorrowful strain on the cello on the lakeside dock of your mountain hideway while shedding a singular tear at sunset.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com