Bell Helicopter received Transport Canada certification for its long-awaited new light twin, the 429, last month. The company also announced that it had completed FAA certification requirements. Deliveries of the twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207DI-powered, $4.865 million (2007 $) helicopter were scheduled to begin last month. Bell holds letters of intent for more than 300 copies of the 429 and is in the process of converting them to firm orders. Announced customers include helicopter EMS provider Air Methods.
Several dozen 429s are currently on the production line at Bell’s Mirabel, Quebec plant. Final performance figures include a top speed of 150 knots and a range of 368 nm. The helicopter will be available in several variants including EMS, law enforcement, utility and executive. Initial deliveries will be equipped with skids, but Bell has plans to offer the 429 with retractable wheeled gear beginning in 2010 or 2011.