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.
This year’s Igor Sikorsky Humanitarian Award goes not to an individual, but to an organization that celebrated a special milestone last year. In 1957, the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) acquired its first helicopter, a Bell 47 G-2.
Emirates-CAE Flight Training has signed a three-year contract to provide helicopter training for Indian-based offshore helicopter operator Global Vectra Helicorp. Global Vectra flight crews will undergo training on a Bell 412 full-flight simulator at ECFT’s facility in Dubai. The agreement covers recurrent and initial type training.
Displaying the sort of brand loyalty most manufacturers only wish for, the New York City Police Department aviation unit has taken delivery of yet another Bell helicopter, a brand-new 412EP. This addition brings the NYPD’s fleet total to six helicopters, all of them Bell products.
Bell 412 EP, Eket, Nigeria, Aug. 3, 2007–The pilot of the Bristow Helicopters Bell 412 was killed when the helicopter crashed while maneuvering over Qua Ibom Terminal Airfield in Nigeria. Witnesses reported that the helicopter did a series of “torque turns” over opposite ends of the airfield before going down in a nose-down attitude.
In a deal valued at more than $230 million, Bell has started to deliver 26 Bell 412EP medium twins and associated equipment to Pakistan. The OEM, which delivered nine of the aircraft during June, will hand over the rest during the next 10 months. The helicopters will be used primarily for personnel transport, emergency medical service and disaster relief.
Bell 205s, 212s and 412s are the subject of an FAA special airworthiness information bulletin recommending compliance with an Aug. 27, 2002, manufacturer safety notice calling for inspections of the tail rotor at 25-hour intervals to detect excessive corrosion damage. The November 5 bulletin said there have been two tail rotor failures on the Bell 212 and five on the Bell 412 since 2002.
EMS operator Inova AirCare is doubling its fleet of aeromed helicopters this month in an effort to increase service to residents of Northern Virginia and the fast-growing Northern Neck area. It will also open a second base in the area.
Bell 412, Hesperia, Calif., Dec. 10, 2006–Bell 412SP N410MA, operated by LifeNet dba Mercy Air Services, crashed in the mountains near the top of Cajon Pass, killing the commercial pilot and two medical crewmembers. The helicopter was destroyed in the post-crash fire. VMC prevailed along the route from the Loma Linda University Medical Center to Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville. A company VFR flight plan was filed.
Bell Helicopter’s sales machine ran at full throttle here at Heli-Expo. Among the many orders announced was a three-ship Bell 430 contract signed by Dr. Wayne Hilliard, president of San Antonio Air Life of Texas. The airmed operator currently has a fleet of three Bell 412s and one 206 and recently passed a milestone of 30,000 patients transported.