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Friday, June 24, 2011

Bell Claims 50 Sales for 407GX

By Thierry Dubois

Between commercial launch in February and the Paris Air Show in June, Bell Helicopter is reporting sales of around 50 examples of its 407GX, the newest version of the light single, fitted with a Garmin G1000H avionics suite.

Larry Roberts, Bell’s senior vice president for commercial business, insisted the new cockpit brings enhanced situational awareness. “This is practically IFR equipment in a VFR aircraft,” he said. The G1000 had so far only been installed in fixed-wing aircraft in the light and business aviation markets. Safety information (such as traffic collision avoidance and ground proximity warning), navigation graphics and engine parameters are grouped on two large displays.

It only took 18 months for Bell and Garmin engineers to develop the 407 version of the G1000H and get it certified. From a commercial standpoint, it is deemed a success. Roberts said the 50-or-so sales are firm orders. For the list price of $2.795 million, customers also get a camera looking at the tailrotor. It is useful both close to the ground for obstacle clearance and, in flight, to check the health of the tailrotor after a bird strike.


On the left display, the pilot can have a camera view of the tailrotor for obstacle clearance. Photo by Thierry Dubois

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