The super-medium Bell Helicopter “Relentless” Model 525, announced at Heli-Expo’12, is not just an ambitious new program, it is a catalyst for changing the culture of the company, said Larry Thimmesch, Bell’s vice president of commercial programs. “There are many new things on this program, not just in terms of product but also in terms of process and cultural change,” he said.
Bell Helicopter is preparing to start assembling the first prototype of the 525 Relentless super-medium twin later this year at its facility in Amarillo, Texas. Four more prototypes are expected to join the test program before certification in 2015. Bell and its suppliers have begun manufacturing parts for the helicopter, which was announced in February last year and is slated to fly for the first time next year.
Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron yesterday reported a $1 billion increase in revenues, to $12.237 billion, last year, but it was the performance at Bell that contributed most to this gain. Manufacturing profits also rose by more than $140 million, to $1.07 billion, again mostly due to the helicopter manufacturer.
Textron subsidiary Bell Helicopter announced today that it will invest more than $10 million to expand its completion and customer delivery facilities in Piney Flats, Tenn. The additions will include the purchase of a 150,000-sq-ft building adjacent to the site that will house customization and completions of light and medium aircraft as well as the site’s shipping and receiving operations. The project is expected to add approximately 125 new jobs at the location.
A senior AgustaWestland executive told AIN late last week that the company was giving serious consideration to building production models of the AW609 civil tiltrotor in the U.S., possibly in Texas. Robert LaBelle, managing director of the AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Co., said the aircraft initially would be built partially in Italy and the U.S., but that the ultimate decision on where to conduct final assembly would be “driven by the customer base” and that “35 percent of that is predicted to be in the United States.”
Bell Helicopter has announced a substantial investment in its support of operations in China. The OEM has signed a memorandum of understanding to assist with the establishment of a maintenance training facility in Guangdong Province. The MOU with Guangzhou Civil Aviation College focuses on training for the Bell 206L and Bell 407 and includes access to training-course materials, electronic training systems and continued support throughout training.
Bell Helicopter announced purchase agreements for 15 new helicopters at the recently concluded Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai. The agreements cover two Bell 429s, 11 Bell 407GXs and two Bell 206L4s. Also at the show, Bell announced the signing of a MoU with Guangzhou Civil Aviation College to assist with the establishment of a maintenance training facility for the Bell 206L and Bell 407. In addition, it appointed Shanghai Kingwing General Aviation Co. and H&P General Aviation Service Co. as authorized customer service facilities.
Bell Helicopters signed several agreements and appointed a new managing director in China, Chris Jaran, during Airshow China 2012, which is being held this week in Zhuhai.
The company inked an agreement to engage H&P General Aviation Service Co. (H&P) in Guangzhou, China, to be a Bell Helicopter-authorized customer service facility (CSF). The agreement, celebrated during the airshow, allows H&P to perform field maintenance on Bell 407 helicopters.
Bell Helicopter has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SAIT Polytechnic to make its classrooms and labs at SAIT’s Art Smith Aero Centre in Calgary, Alberta, available for Bell Helicopter to use in the delivery of approved maintenance, repair training and certification programs.
Bell Helicopter broke ground October 15 on its new Fort Worth, Tex. headquarters building.
Bell’s new, energy-efficient 210,000-sq-ft headquarters will house administration, support functions, program offices, a customer center and an integrated training facility. The Bell Helicopter training facility, currently located at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, will be moved to the new global headquarters.