Bell (Booth 1231) announced orders for six helicopters on the opening day of Heli-Expo 2020, including a new customer for its IFR-certified Bell 407GXi and the first customer order for a special variant of the 505 Jet Ranger X.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) placed orders for two Bell 407GXi single turboshaft helicopters and two twin-engine 429s. The TVA is the nation’s largest public power provider, serving almost 10 million people in the Tennessee Valley across more than 16,000 miles of transmission lines.
"Helicopters are an investment that help us to improve safety and overall operational efficiency with minimal impact to the environment," said David Hill, TVA's general manager for aviation services. The electrical utility is a longtime Bell customer and currently operates two 407s, a 429, and a 206L4.
Bell also announced its first order for a 505 Jet Ranger X in public service configuration from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) in California. Introduced last year at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Chicago, the variant includes a public address system, external camera, and searchlight— both integrated to a Churchill ARS700 augmented reality video and mapping system—and upgraded instrumentation and cockpit lighting to support law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency response, and other public safety roles.
"The Bell 505 has proven essential in missions ranging from search and rescue to transportation of sheriff's office personnel to law enforcement-related activities,” said ACSO Capt. Derrick Hesselein. “The aircraft will also allow sheriff's office members to quickly respond during natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, or flooding and provide aid where needed."
Hesselein said the specially equipped Jet Ranger X will be the department’s first owned helicopter.