Bell Helicopter handed over the first two Europe-bound 505 Jet Ranger X light singles yesterday. The customer was not identified, but the 505s were outfitted for corporate use. The deliveries, which took place at Bell’s factory in Mirabel, Quebec, follow certification of the helicopter by the European Aviation Safety Agency in November. The manufacturer began training the first European operators at its Bell Training Academy in Fort Worth, Texas.
European approval came almost a year after the helicopter received initial type certification from Transport Canada in late 2016. The helicopter has also received validations from aviation authorities in the U.S., Chile, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, Argentina, and Japan. The first customer aircraft was delivered on March 7 last year.
The 505 has become Bell’s top commercial seller, Bell executives said. Bell accrued more than 400 letters of intent for the five-seat model, and Cynthia Garneau, president of Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, said the conversion of those letters, along with the addition of new orders, has been “progressing very nicely.” Bell also has fully ramped up its production of the 505, she said, noting the company is meeting its delivery commitments to customers.
Powered by a dual-channel Fadec Turbomeca Arrius 2R with a two-blade main rotor system, the 505 can reach speeds of 125 knots, has a 1,500-pound useful load, can fly 306 nm, and has a 3.5-hour maximum endurance.