Bell Helicopter announced last month that its new 429 light twin has been approved for precise wide area augmentation system (Waas) glidepath operations. The capability will allow the 429 to be flown to point-in-space approaches when the cloud ceiling is as low as 250 feet agl and to conduct steep (9 degrees) localizer precision with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches at a minimum velocity for instrument approaches (Vmini) of 45 knots.
The first operator of an EMS-configured Bell 429 light twin reports it is “more than happy” with the helicopter and its performance after flying 65 missions in less than a month. Des Moines-based Mercy Medical Center’s Mercy One placed its 429 into operation on April 10.
Cobham’s digital audio control system (DACS) has been installed in and FAA approved on the first commercial delivery of an air medical Bell 429.
Air Methods installed the system at its Colorado headquarters. The light twin helicopter was scheduled for delivery last month and will operate from the company’s Mercy One hospital-based program in Des Moines.
Bell Helicopter has announced senior staff changes and the integration of its XworX research and development center into its engineering department, at a time when questions persist about the company’s future role in the BA609 civil tiltrotor program and the launch customer for the 429 light twin helicopter seeks to back out of its purchase agreement.
“The Bell 429 is the first helicopter to have a maintenance program designed under MSG-3,” Neil Marshall, program director for the Bell 429 project, told AIN. “We had a working group composed of Bell Helicopter specialists, lead mechanics from customers, representatives from the FAA, Transport Canada and EASA giving input into the design.
Bell Helicopter CEO John Garrison told a press conference here yesterday that he did not expect an uptick in the company’s civil helicopter sales until 2012 and called the company’s 2009 “quite a year in a very challenging environment.”
Cobham Audio Control Featured on Bell 429
Air Comm has unveiled the first digital climate-control system for helicopters at Heli-Expo. The system will allow crew and passengers to dial in desired temperatures throughout the aircraft. Simply called the Digital Climate Control System, it automatically engages air-conditioning and heating as required to maintain the selected temperatures. It features separate zones and controls for cockpit and cabin.
EMS provider Air Methods (Booth No. 1929) will not be taking deliveries of any more new Bell 429s beyond the single unit it received in October, according to CEO Aaron Todd. Air Methods was the 429’s launch customer and since 2004 it had held letters of intent for up to 15. Another helicopter EMS company acquired by Air Methods in 2007, CJ Systems, had letters for another 10.
AgustaWestland has begun delivering a tailored version of the AW109S Grand to Swiss air rescue organization Rega. The Da Vinci, the result of a set of specifications issued by Rega to replace its A109 K2s, is thus not offered to other customers.