Aquarius Deck Training

Training the crew onboard Aquarius was a pleasure. Even though they do not have regular helicopter operations, it is greatly beneficial to keep the crew up to date on procedures and protocol for emergency and unusual situations. We spent time going through practical scenarios and how to handle emergencies including fires and onboard crashes.

SHADOWCAT and On Deck Aviation

Have you heard of a SHADOWCAT? One of the newest support ship designs, a SHADOWCAT can accommodate a wide array of airborne, marine and land based vehicles including: jet skis, quad bikes, speedboats, submarines, and helicopters. With dive rooms, fuel storage, medical facilities, and luxurious chill-out zones, a SHADOWCAT makes the storage, maintenance, launch and recovery of superyacht toys a breeze.

On Deck Aviation had a chance to talk with SHADOWCAT about how aviation can add an exciting element to yachting. Check out a few excerpts from the interview below:

“Seeing a site like Pompeii or Palau from the air adds new perspective,” said Scott Gugel, president of On Deck Aviation. “It’s one thing to explore or SCUBA dive an incredible site, but seeing it from the air is a whole different feel.”

Palau, as seen from a helicopter

“It’s just more fun when you can experience a destination aloft,” added SHADOWCAT’s Robert Smith, co-founder and president of YCTS, Ltd. “Whether an owner wants to fly around a volcano, see a shipwreck from above or land on a glacier in Alaska, a helicopter provides greater access to adventure.”

Mexico, as seen from a helicopter

Typically, a helicopter pad is added near the bow of a superyacht, which Gugel said may offer limited space, depending on the size of the vessel. Because of this, such pads often cannot be certified, or accommodate the owner’s desired helicopter. Smaller vessels also do not often allow space for aircraft hangars and other aircraft support facilities.

By contrast, SHADOWCAT catamaran support vessels have plenty of deck space for helicopter pads and offer superyacht owners a designated place to house and carry aircraft. Larger shadow yachts, like SHADOWCAT’s 78m option, offer several decks of generous toy storage and enough space to house even the largest of VIP twin-engine helicopters, such as the new and exciting H160 or the AW139, both of which provide more seating and greater safety than other helicopters.

Check out the full interview we did with the SHADOWCAT team on why support ships and aviation are such a large part of the yachting industry here: SHADOWCAT

Bad Company Deck Training

Check out this cool support ship! We had the chance to train the brand new crew for helicopter operations in Fort Lauderdale. They were able to successfully support helicopter operations with the owner 3 days after our training. Great job by everyone!

AHPO Deck Training

On Deck Aviation was happy to perform HLO/HDA training for AHPO and her crew. We spent two days with the team, providing classroom practical theory training as well as hands-on deck training. Check out some photos below!

M/Y Nord Official Delivery

M/Y Nord has officially been delivered and is ready for her owner to make use of all her capabilities! We had so much fun working with the Nord team to select and acquire the helicopter, train the crew for helicopter operations, and equip the yacht with the appropriate tools. Congratulations Nord!

Check out the latest video from Superyacht Times here:

MY Nord / Project Opus AW139

Take a look at these awesome photos of the new AW139 onboard MY Nord! We had the privilege of acquiring this aircraft for the owner and modifying it to their exact needs. We also trained the crew for how to deal with helicopter operations on board.

Photos from

Project Opus Sea Trials

Wow! How impressive is this footage of the Opus Sea Trials? Good thing they have a hangar for aircraft storage if they ever need to be in such conditions.

MegaYacht NORD: New Launch

One of our most exciting and most challenging projects yet, MegaYacht Nord (Project Opus) certainly exudes sophistication and opulence. We thoroughly enjoyed working with Moran Yacht & Ship on this project and being the helicopter acquisition agent and helicopter integration consultant. This was one of the largest projects we have worked on and we can’t wait to do something similar again! Below is a video of the ship at its finest:

Read more about this awesome water craft from SuperYacht Times below:

“After an outfitting period that lasted just over 12 months, the highly-anticipated 142m Lürssen project Opuslaunched outside Bremen today. Opus is the first vessel to have been launched from the builder’s newly upgraded floating shed at its facility in Vegasack.

The complete design of the project is the work of Nuvolari Lenard from Italy, the same studio behind the two other Lürssen projects Quottrelle (2013) and Testarossa (2022). Project Opus is managed by owner representatives Moran Yacht & Ship who is overseeing the entire construction process. The yacht is the largest project ever sold by the company. 

Built to PYC standards, Opus can accommodate up to 36 guests in 20 cabins with luxury guests areas spread across the yacht’s six decks. “She is feature-rich with high-end amenities to delight and cater to every imaginable whim,”commented Moran Yacht & Ship.

Opus’ naval-inspired bow shape and bridge deck overhangs lend the yacht an aggressive demeanour when viewed from ahead, with an elaborate mast design that carries all the necessary communication and navigational equipment she will need on her travels. The sleek aft-sloping superstructure elegantly hides the yacht’s spacious 9,250 gross tonnes.

On bridge deck level, a large helicopter landing deck aft with fold-down side platforms provide shelter for the yacht’s helicopter that can be stowed away in a retractable hangar that slides neatly into the superstructure when not in use. 

A large sports and diving centre on the lower deck, oversized swimming pool on the main deck and a fleet of custom tenders are just some of the other features on board this impressive vessel…”


Support Ship Hodor

M/Y Lonian certainly is a unique ship in many ways… one of them being that it has it’s own support ship to carry all of the fun, but heavy, toys! As part of the overall helicopter integration for these two ships, On Deck Aviation was able to have a front row seat to the design and execution of the awesome helipad onboard. Read more about this epic support ship featured in Forbes below:

“As the demand for bigger, faster, tougher, and more technologically advanced superyachts continues to grow, the world’s ocean-loving billionaires are commissioning superyachts in the (200-to-500 foot-long range) that have way more to offer than big sun decks and gold-plated fixtures. Just in the past few months, Oleg Tinkov celebrated the launch of his new, 246-foot long ice class polar explorer yacht, a long time American yacht owner launched a 263-footer with a cutting-edge new design and in the Italian shipyard Benetti has launched THREE new yachts measuring over 300-long.  So, it makes perfect sense to see HODOR the latest “superyacht support vessel” to be launched this year is even more jam packed with tenders, toys, and aircraft carrying capability than anything that’s been built before.

And a big reason for that is that HODOR is the first Shadow Cat that provides the deck and storage space, flexibility, stability, efficiency of an Incat Crowther catamaran to the yacht industry. Design and naval architecture was by Incat Crowther, project management and technical consultation by Robert Smith of YCTS and construction by Astilleros Armón at their Burela shipyard in Spain.

According to published reports, HODOR has been customized to carry the specific equipment and supplies to support and enhance the owner’s mothership capabilities and it can accommodate an astounding number of toys, facilities and personnel. This includes five boats, (the largest being 56-foot long speedboat), jet skis, quad bikes, a submarine, a helipad, and a large complement of crew, staff and support equipment…”


Feadship Superyacht Lonian

The team here at On Deck Aviation had a great time working with the Lonian team to successfully integrate their helicopter with their new superyacht. We worked closely with the Captain to make appropriate helideck design suggestions, train the crew on helicopter operations, and find top-notch pilots for the owner. Read more about the project in SuperYacht Times’ article below:

“Having spent just over a year enjoying the privacy onboard his 87-metre Feadship, the owner of Lonian has showcased a selection of up close and personal images of the superyacht in all her glory. Wanting to be close to the water, preferably at anchor and away from marinas, the owner appointed Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design to incorporate 22 openings into the exterior design to fulfil his brief. Spending time in secluded locations requires a plethora of tenders and toys, including an AW169 helicopter and a 66-metre support vessel with a crew of up to 20.

On the water, Lonian’s masculine exterior profile retains elegance, notably with her dark blue hull – a challenging and unforgiving choice of hue created especially by Feadship’s paint team. Her striking bow is defined by the signature V-cut feature on both port and starboard side – a platform for the wealth of glass featured in the wide body section and the full-beam main deck. The main deck is devoid of sidewalks and so crew and service traffic is diverted to the lower deck.

Having synchronised practical requests with smart aesthetics, Feadship’s engineering team devised a solution to fulfil the owners’ desire for a swimming pool with a translucent bottom that forms the ceiling of the beach club below. The surface of the pool was engineered to sit 50cm above deck height to create a superb relaxation area surrounded by cabanas. An integrated cinema screen at the end of the pool is hooked up to the yacht’s high-end audio installation – a feature which was made possible after the build team spent time creating a life-sized mock-up of the stern. To create the beach club below and avoid increasing the height of the hull, the owner, Sinot and Feadship worked to safeguard the three surrounding platforms aft, port and starboard against flooding by building them a certain height above the water…”