Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Heard in the Hallways: Whither Bell’s New Medium Twin Study
Among the questions to be answered about Bell Helicopter under President/CEO Richard Millman is the future of the New Medium Twin study launched last year by his ousted predecessor, Mike Redenbaugh. Millman’s trademark at Bell is disciplined analysis of project proposals. Where does that leave the NMT?
Bell briefed customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Brazil, India, Mexico, and Thailand on a conceptual 15-18 seat aircraft with a max gross weight of 18-20,000 lb, a useful load of 7,500-8,500 lb, a cruise speed of 160-170 kt, a range of 500-550 nm, and a service ceiling of 20,000 ft. Bell is targeting the market between the AgustaWestland AW139/Eurocopter EC175 and Sikorsky Aircraft’s S-70/S-92.
But that concept called for pre-design to start about now if the New Medium Twin is to reach market in 2012. Disciplined analysis would show that since Bell backed out of the AB139 program, it has no aircraft to compete in the medium twin range other than the 412EP.