The only rotorcraft on display at Jet Expo 2011 was the Bell 429, of which the first example to be delivered to Russia arrived in June. The helicopter came in crates and was assembled at the Moscow aircraft repair plant with help of Russian rotorcraft maker Kazan.
In early July the first Russian Bell 429 went through a short regimen of certification trials with the CIS’s civil aviation authority. On the eve of Jet Expo 2011, the helicopter started flying private charters with local launch customer Chelyabinsk Avia.
Meanwhile Yamal, Russia’s second largest rotorcraft operator, became the latest AS350B3 customer in the country following deliveries in August. Yamal has operated Eurocopter products since 2007, starting with EC135s.
Deliveries of the single-engine AS350B3 also began to UTair, Russia’s largest rotorcraft operator, with first shipment in August. UTair already operated an AS355. Under a contract signed a year ago with Eurocopter’s Russian subsidiary in Vostok, UTAir is due to receive 16 AS350B3s and four twin-engine AS355NPs, with deliveries to start in the spring of 2013.