Look for a new helicopter variant of a tried-and-true veteran design to bow in at next month’s HAI HeliExpo ’02. Bearing the temporary cognomen of JRX, the expanded variant of the basic Bell 206 will boast a roomier cabin and wider windows. It is hoped both changes will attract orders from air-tour operators.
BELL 206L-1, NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FLA., FEB. 16, 2002–A pilot and his revenue passenger died while trying to land at the Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), a residential air park six miles south of Daytona Beach (Fla.) International Airport. The Part 135 air-taxi flight, operated by Universal Air Service, originated from Orlando, Fla., at 0550.
The chartered Bell JetRanger that crashed into the ice-covered slopes of Mount Rainier last June has slid into a crevasse and seems to be beyond recovery. In so doing, the chartered helicopter joins a half-dozen other out-of-reach aircraft that festoon the slopes of the 14,410-ft peak.
Featuring a modified nose, upgraded avionics and simplified construction, a modernized FH-1100 helicopter should be in production by 2004. Georges Van Nevel, president of the FH-1100 Manufacturing Corp., recently told AIN that he anticipates FAA certification for the upgraded helo by the end of this year, with first deliveries expected within 18 months of production startup.
When the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., opened last month to tell the tale of news gathering, publication and broadcast and to champion the concept of a free press, it did not ignore the role of aviation in the news-gathering and -broadcasting process.
Bell 206L-1 LongRanger, Venice, La., Dec. 29, 2007–One of the passengers of the Air Logistics LongRanger was killed and the pilot and the two other passengers injured when the helicopter crashed after a loss of control in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bell 206B JetRanger, Zuzenhausen, Germany, Jan. 7, 2008–The German-registered JetRanger, on a pipeline patrol flight, was destroyed when it crashed under unknown circumstances in IMC. The pilot had minor injuries and a passenger was killed. The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation is investigating.
Mike Redenbaugh took over the CEO’s office at Bell Helicopter’s Fort Worth, Texas headquarters in May and now faces some formidable challenges–including getting the military V-22 tiltrotor program on track and completing certification of the BA609 civil tiltrotor in cooperation with partner Agusta Aerospace of Italy.
A Bell 206L3 owned and operated by Petroleum Helicopters crashed on its way to an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on October 10, killing the pilot and two passengers aboard.
Bell Helicopter is restructuring its product line to accelerate deliveries of aircraft in high demand, namely the Bell 412, 407 and 429. The Fort Worth manufacturer is increasing production of these models while ending production of the Bell 206B3 JetRanger, 427, 430 and 210 by 2010. Bell anticipates that the change will enable it to build a larger number of commercial helicopters each year.