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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Bell Freezes 429 Exterior, Starts Hot, High Tests

PRODUCTS/AIRFRAMES

Bell Helicopter has frozen the exterior design of its new Model 429 light twin following 400-plus hr of flight tests.

"This means our design meets the aesthetic and in-flight handling specifications we set long ago" and promised to customers, said Bell’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, Bob Fitzpatrick

Last month, Bell had one 429 prototype in Colorado for high-altitude flight tests and the other in Arizona for high-temperature work.

Bell claims orders from customers for more than 240 429s. It has said it expects to gain certification of the aircraft and begin deliveries by next October. Bell introduced the new light twin at Heli-Expo in 2005, aiming it at emergency medical service and law enforcement operators, among other customers.

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