Sunday, December 1, 2013
Bell 429 WLG, Personal Eurocopter EC145 Among NBAA Highlights in Las Vegas
|Ron Pratte’s EC145 at NBAA.|
|Exhibit hall at NBAA 2013.|
Bell Helicopter used the event as the backdrop to introduce a version of its 429 with wheeled landing gear. The “429 WLG” is similar in design and appearance to the legacy 429, which was launched in 2009. The primary difference is the addition of a tricycle-style landing gear similar to those found on the Bell 430 and 222.
By adding retractable landing gear, the aircraft “is now able to taxi, giving [operators] the freedom of landing in a greater variety of conditions,” said Danny Maldonado, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Bell. “It also slightly increases the aircraft’s cruise speed, thanks to a reduction in drag.”
|Robinson R66 on display in Las Vegas.|
“NBAA has been hosting this event since 1950,” noted Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the association. “This is about sharing with the community and sharing with the world the really great news about business aviation; who we are, and why we matter.”
|Instrument panel for a Sikorsky S-76C++.|
|Main landing gear on the Bell 429 WLG.|
Other interesting people and products filled the one million square-foot exhibit hall in Las Vegas. Red Bull helicopter stunt pilot Chuck “Malibu” Aaron and friend Scott Urschel spoke to Rotor & Wing about a new product that was unofficially unveiled at the event. It’s a portable, handheld lithium-ion battery that can start a twin-engine helicopter through the aircraft’s external power jack.
|Front view of the Sikorsky S-76C++ at NBAA.|
The three-day NBAA Convention drew a wide variety of professionals and companies involved in corporate air travel.
And although the majority of the exhibitors displaying aircraft and products in the Las Vegas Convention Center were primarily focused on fixed-wing aviation, helicopter manufacturers and suppliers were present from the rotary wing industry, including Robinson, which showcased one of its light, single-turbine R66s, and Sikorsky, which displayed an S-76C++ medium twin turbine.