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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Helitech International 2013: Light Twin Focus for Bell

By Peter Donaldson

Bell Helicopter (Booth E10) is planning to put the spotlight on the 429 light twin at Helitech 2013 with one example on static display and another putting on flight demonstrations throughout the show. Bell describes the 429 as the 21st century standard for light twins, “delivering exceptional speed, range, hover performance and enhanced safety margins, with comfort and cost management.”

The 429 is certified for single- and dual- pilot IFR operations with GPS Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) capabilities that enable point-in-space approaches down to 250 feet. Bell’s BasiX-Pro integrated glass cockpit avionics feature either two or three multi-function displays, a dual digital three-axis autopilot and an integrated electronic data recorder.

Bell 429. Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter

 

Performance-wise, the aircraft boasts a 150-knot (278 km/h) maximum speed, a range of over 400 nm (741 km), and the ability to hover at more than 11,000 feet (3,438 m) outside ground effect.

The cabin has 204 cubic feet (5.78 cubic meters) of usable volume, features side doors 60 inches (152 cm) wide, optional rear clam-shell doors and can seat seven passengers and one crewmember on crashworthy seats. Other safety features include collective-mounted throttles, damage tolerant hub and rotor system, as well as “outstanding” One Engine Inoperative (OEI) performance, according to the company.

Bell’s 429 is also the first helicopter certified through the MSG-3 Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) process resulting in reduced costs for operators.

Besides the 429, Bell is also sure to attract interest with new models such as the 525 Relentless and the aircraft that marks its return in force with the Short Light Single (SLS) to a sector it once dominated, and with updates to established machines, such as the 407GX.

Related: Airframe News

 

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