Bell Helicopter Drops Model 417 Development

 - March 5, 2007, 9:23 AM

Bell Helicopter yesterday revealed it has discontinued the 417 development project, announced with much fanfare at last year’s Heli-Expo, where the company took deposits for 136 copies of the aircraft, which was based on the popular 407. Another point of discussion at this year’s event, held in Orlando, Fla., was Bell’s recent shakeup at the top. New CEO Richard Millman was noticeably absent from yesterday’s afternoon press briefing where he was scheduled to make inaugural remarks, although he is expected to make an appearance at the show. Meanwhile, the new 429 GlobalRanger light twin has been progressing rapidly, according to company officials. While testing for the Bell/Agusta 609 tiltrotor continues to drag on, one company official said to expect a big presence at the Paris Air Show later this year.