HAI Convention News

Bell Rounds Out Heli-Expo with Orders, New Distributor

 - January 29, 2020, 6:00 PM
Bell’s 505 garnered orders from new Swiss distributor Centaurium, which committed to purchasing three of the light singles, two for training and photography and one for demos. (Photo: Barry Ambrose)

Bell (Booth 1231) announced at Heli-Expo 2020 a new European distributor and more orders for its 505 Jet Ranger X and IFR-capable 407GXi turbine-single helicopters. Centaurium Aviation was appointed as an independent representative for the Bell line in Switzerland, with the Mörigen-based aircraft sales and acquisition firm signing a purchase agreement for three Bell 505s.

Two of those aircraft will be used for mountain pilot training and aerial photography by Mountainflyers, while the third will serve as a demonstrator aircraft for prospective customers. "We are excited to begin this journey with Bell," said Centaurium CEO Daniel Borer, adding the company sees "great potential" for the 505 with Swiss customers.

Bell also won a new order from the Leon County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) in Tallahassee, Florida for a public safety-configured version of the light single, marking the second order for the special law enforcement-focused Jet Ranger X variant announced this week at Heli-Expo.

"Our aviation unit is responsible for operating over the city of Tallahassee and in the darkest areas of the county including the Apalachicola National Forrest where visibility is extremely limited," said LCSO Aviation Section Commander Lieutenant Lee Majors. "It is critical we have highly advanced technology onboard to ensure the safety of our pilots."

Bell is also making inroads with its IFR-configured 407GXi, including a new purchase agreement signed with South Texas-based non-profit helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) provider Halo-Flight. "We are excited to announce that HALO-Flight added the first Bell 407GXi HEMS operator with IFR flight capabilities to its fleet," said Doug Schoen, Bell's managing director for North America. "This will give our customer more of an advantage in the air during tough weather conditions."

Halo-Flight currently operates three Bell 407s and a Bell 429 for air ambulance services. "This aircraft will be extremely beneficial for our EMS missions and allow us to reach our patients in all-weather conditions," said Tom Klassen, executive director for Halo-Flight.

Arrow Aviation will configure the HEMS 407GXi with Helifab's articulated EMS litter installation, medical oxygen system, and other specialized equipment.