Bell Helicopter’s commercial division knows as well as anyone about the challenge of making a living in a stagnant industry that appears unlikely to grow beyond generally accepted delivery projections of 400 to 500 helicopters a year. For years the only real avenue to sales growth lay in scratching for more market share–a circumstance unlikely to change in the near future.
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.
Every customer who signed up for the 427 IFR model has swallowed the premium associated with upgrading to the bigger 429. But why did Bell ditch the 427i?