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.
Fort Worth, Texas-based Bell Helicopter is riding the success of the upcoming Bell 505 Jet Ranger X and the two-year-old Bell 429 to increased sales activity in Europe. According to Patrick Moulay, managing director for Europe and Russia, sales activity was up 37 percent in 2013 versus 2012 after “more than doubling” the year before.
“We are investing in Europe,” Moulay told AIN, including a new customizing hub in Prague so EU customers can pick up their EASA-certified aircraft closer to home instead of traveling to the U.S. or Canada.
Engine failure is the initial focus in the crash of a Bell 206B Friday morning, shortly after takeoff from Coffs Harbour, on the east coast of Australia. The helicopter struck the ground with enough force to rip the rear rotor from the aircraft. The pilot and single passenger received only minor injuries. There was no post-crash fire.
Bell Helicopter is stepping up efforts to bring its “short light single” helicopter to market, having formally unveiled the new model as the 505 Jet Ranger X at the Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, California, in February. Here at ABACE, the company is exhibiting with its Chinese distributor Aerochine (Booth P529) and is also promoting its new twin-engine Bell 525.
Bell Helicopter secured orders and purchase commitments for 196 new helicopters from customers during Heli-Expo, which was held last week in Anaheim, Calif. This number includes more than 170 letters of intent for Bell’s circa-$1 million light single helicopter, the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X, that was formally unveiled at the show.
Sun Valley, Calif.-based Helicopter Accessory Service will soon begin shipping strengthened TactAir servo actuator extension assemblies to handle increased hydraulic pressure on Bell LongRanger rotor heads, the company announced last week at Heli-Expo.
Owner/operators of Bell 206L series helicopters can install a new cylinder extension assembly from Tactair Fluid Controls, a subsidiary of Young & Franklin. The new cylinder extension assembly is detailed in a Tactair service bulletin (SB42C42642-67-04) and a Bell Helicopter information letter (206L-14-97), and its replacement is recommended for accomplishment during repair or overhaul of the hydraulic servo actuator. The improvement replaces the existing cylinder extension assembly with an upgraded component that is designed to increase the reliability and service life of the entire hydraulic servo actuator.
FreeFlight Systems (Booth No. 4513) and the University of North Dakota (Booth No. 3440) received FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) approval in the Bell 206B for the FreeFlight RANGR FDL-978-XVR. This installation is now the first rule-compliant 978 MHz ADS-B IN/OUT universal access transceiver (UAT) for rotorcraft. The company and the school jointly developed the technology with contributions from the FAA’s Center for General Aviation Research (CGAR), as well as a consortium of universities.
Canadian aviation services provider Cadorath Group has completed a nearly $1 million renovation to its chrome-plating facility. Among the upgrades are new plating tanks, the latest rectifiers, improved pollution control and a modern air scrubber to meet current and future environmental standards. Chrome plating is used to repair and protect areas of components that are prone to wear. “Chrome plating is what started our aerospace companies,” said CEO Gerry Cadorath.
Bell Helicopter (Booth No. 4536) CEO John Garrison said there was never any doubt what the company really planned to call its new light single.
“There’s so much brand equity in the Jet Ranger. It’s phenomenal. It brings tears to people’s eyes. We knew we wanted Jet Ranger. X is the next generation of Jet Ranger.”
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