On Friday, Bell Helicopter’s 429 team froze the final exterior profile of its light twin-engine helicopter after months of development flight testing. Since introducing the Bell 429 GlobalRanger at Heli-Expo 2005, Bell has flown two prototypes for more than 400 hours of flight testing. One aircraft is now in Colorado performing high-altitude testing and the other is in Arizona for high-temperature trials. The 429 employs 10 of the 13 “critical technologies” that form the basis of Bell’s MAPL (modular affordable product line) philosophy. Those technologies are rotor blade fabrication technique; blade tip shape; autopilot; aircraft data interface unit; cockpit; dual hydraulics; cabin; tail-rotor drive shaft; skids or retractable landing gear; and avionics suite. To date, Bell has received customer purchase agreements for more than 240 copies of the $4.865 million (2007 dollars) GlobalRanger. First delivery is slated for late next year, and the company plans to ramp up production to 60 aircraft per year by 2011.
Bell Locks Down Design for GlobalRanger
- October 30, 2007, 11:19 AM