Bell Helicopter executives told AIN that the company will be pursuing initial type certification of its new 505 Jet Ranger X light single from Transport Canada and will conduct prototype assembly and flight-testing of the aircraft from its plant in Mirabel, Quebec. First flight is expected later this year.
The company currently manufactures all of its certified civil helicopters at Mirabel, including the Bell 206L4 LongRanger, which is providing the basis for the 505’s drivetrain and rotor-blade technology. Bell formally unveiled the 505 in February at Heli-Expo with a trio of mockups. The five-seat helicopter will be powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine (457 shp continuous) with dual-channel Fadec.
Production aircraft will be manufactured at a new Bell plant currently under construction in Lafayette, La. Last week, Bell named 505 program manager Paul Watts as general manager of that facility. Watts revealed that Bell currently holds orders for more than two hundred 505s and that the base price of the aircraft will be around $1 million, with a “well equipped” model selling for $1.2 million (2014 $).