After months of dodging questions about the status of the program, Bell Helicopter officials yesterday announced the company has canceled development of the single-engine 417 helicopter, which made its dramatic debut just a year ago at Heli-Expo.
Honeywell dove back into the civil helicopter business here at Heli-Expo with a series of initiatives it hopes will land it squarely among the major players in the turboshaft propulsion business. Of course, the biggest news came during a Saturday afternoon press conference, when Honeywell revealed that its new HTS900 turboshaft will power the Bell 407X.
The Bell 429, a new light twin helicopter derived from the Bell 427i, will be dramatically unveiled at an 11:30 a.m. press event today at Bell Helicopter’s booth, No. 1087 in Hall D. Bell announced the 427i, an IFR-capable version of the 427, less than one year ago at Heli-Expo 2004.
The new HTS900 turboshaft developed for the Bell 407X has not only thrust Honeywell into the spotlight here at Heli-Expo, it also has given the Phoenix-based company a platform on which to reclaim a place among the major players in the civil helicopter business.
The head of Bell’s new X-Worx center in Arlington, Texas, told AIN that his team is working on a new type of anti-torque device that is “unlike anything you have seen before.”
Organizers of this year’s Heli-Expo helicopter show in Orlando hope they can duplicate some of the magic of their business aviation counterparts at the National Business Aviation Association, who hosted a record NBAA Convention in the same city less than four months ago. If the success of last year’s Heli-Expo in Dallas is any indication, the Helicopter Association International could set a new attendance record of its own next month.
Bell Helicopter, which builds the 206 and 407 single-turbine rotorcraft, unveiled the seven-seat Model 417 at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo, ending its three-day run in Dallas today. The new model is powered by a Honeywell HTS900 turboshaft. The 407 is powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C47B. Honeywell expects the initial TBO to be 3,000 hours but is aiming to increase this figure to 5,000 hours for the mature engine.
Bell Helicopter Textron’s vision for a brand-new line of rotorcraft known as the modular affordable product line (MAPL) has sharpened further now that a powerplant design advertised to meet its lofty efficiency requirement is appearing on the horizon.
Helicopter pilots Jennifer Murray, 66, and Colin Bodill, 55, intend to take off on December 5 for a second attempt to fly round the world via the South and North Poles. They will fly their Bell 407 from Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Dallas. They expect
to travel for 169 days, visit 34 countries and cover 36,206 nm.
The Bell 429 mockup at Bell Helicopter’s exhibit here in Geneva illustrates the increasing attraction of the EBACE venue beyond the strict confines of corporate aviation. Why else, one may ask, would the U.S. rotorcraft manufacturer choose to display the new, twin-engine light helicopter with an emergency medical service (EMS) interior instead of a sleek corporate cabin?