With mockups of its VIP helicopter interiors and gleaming examples of flight-control-actuation systems on display, Mecaer Aviation Group (MAG; Booth 4929) regularly draws a big crowd at the rotor-fest. The company often announces product developments of complementary interest—such as last year’s news of the first deliveries of the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X outfitted with MAG's “Magnificent” interiors, which was accompanied by a display of the most recently delivered 505 at its booth.
But this year, the company was finalizing its display centerpieces and settling on its message as the event approached rather than preparing for an unveiling, said Grayson Barrows, MAG’s director of marketing and sales for the Cabin Comfort Systems Division. However, given the range of Mecaer’s services, including its Tier 1 supplier status to OEMs for flight-control, landing-gear, and interior systems, it could be playing a supporting role in news that another exhibitor is announcing in Anaheim—though Barrows insisted he wasn't hinting that that’s the case.
In any event, Mecaer continues to make news of its own, with updates on the 505 Magnificent interiors among the highlights. In September, MAG announced delivery of a Magnificent interior retrofit of a utility-configured Bell 505 (Booth 1231; Static Display 2). The interior includes all panels; seats (built up from standard frames) and leather upholstery; low-pile carpeting; and a rear passenger service unit with adjustable reading and mood lights, gaspers, and air conditioning outlets. The kits, manufactured at MAG’s Cabin Comfort Systems headquarters in Monteprandone, Italy, are shipped to its Philadelphia Part 145 repair station for installation, which is completed in less than one week. (Kits can be shipped to any Part 145 facility that has the Bell 505 on its capabilities list for aftermarket installation.)
Offered in color palettes of soft whites, creams, blues, or grays, the interiors can be further customized upon request; the recent retrofit customer selected a style and materials “outside of the four basic moods, giving it a one-of-a-kind appearance,” Barrows said, adding that “watching the transformation from utility to VIP was amazing.”
The Magnificent interior borrows elements scaled down from the MAG VIP interiors created for the Bell 429 GlobalRanger light twin and forthcoming Bell 525 Relentless. More sporty than plush, the installation brings panache to what is often an owner-flown platform, and weighing under 70 pounds, extracts little performance penalty. Some 20 to 30 percent of new 505 customers are ordering the interior, which costs about $100,000 to $120,000, Barrows said.
No airframe provisions are required for retrofits, and kits are universal to many of the airframe options available on the Bell 505.
Powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2R and made in Mirabel, Quebec, the 505 has a 1,500-pound useful load, a top cruise speed of more than 125 knots, and a Garmin G1000H flight deck. Price is about $1.07 million.
Also being shown at Heli-Expo, along with images of the MAG VIP interior for the Relentless, are renderings of its VIP cabins for Leonardo’s AW139 (Stand 5536) and Airbus Helicopters’ newly upgraded, five-blade, twin-engine H145 (Booth 3432; Static Display 19, 21), announced in March.
MAG is also displaying torque pedals, flight-control systems, control surfaces, and other rotorcraft components made by its Actuation & Flight Control Systems, and Landing Systems divisions.