Bell Textron has announced several enhancements to its line of helicopters, including a new executive interior option for the Bell 429. The interior has a contemporary colour palette, and features options for leather and carpeted cabin space. The design was on display at HAI Heli-Expo 2020, held on 27-30 January in Anaheim, California.
“Bell is committed to incorporating the latest technologies into our products to further improve the performance, cost of operations and support the lifecycle of aircraft,” said Susan Griffin, executive vice president, commercial business. “Ensuring we have the newest developments on board is core to our business and we are proud to offer newly certified solutions this year across our current product line. As we continue to invest in new technologies, Bell is growing our aftermarket service offerings and global presence.”
The enhancements announced are available for new commercial aircraft and retrofittable across legacy commercial aircraft.
One of the announcements relates to the Bell 505, a short light single that is currently performing corporate, emergency services, public safety, tourism and electronic news gathering roles across 50 countries. The Garmin G1000H NXi flight deck is now standard equipment for 2020 production aircraft or available for retrofit on existing Bell 505s, and is designed to deliver enhanced situational awareness and reduced pilot workload.
Meanwhile, following FAA certification for single-pilot Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Bell Autopilot – 3rd Axis, Bell says the Bell 407GXi’s new IFR capability allows all-weather operations while continuing to provide multi-mission capabilities reliably and effectively.
Bell has certified a Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) for light single-engine aircraft. HUMS monitoring covers drive system, engine and rotors, and provides estimates of remaining useful life to help bring predictability to maintenance needs.
Additionally, the Precise Flight Pulselite system will now be included as standard equipment on all new Bell 407GXi aircraft. When enabled, the Pulselite system alternately pulses the landing and taxi lights to enhance the visibility of the aircraft to traffic and birds. The system is available from Bell as an aftermarket installation.
In other news, all Bell Subaru Bell 412EPX and Bell 429 aircraft now feature the second-generation BasilXPro avionic suites produced by Astronautics. The new avionics come with several enhancements, most notably being nearly 3lb lighter per display unit, and having lower power consumption, expanded route mapping with five levels of declutter and a two-second power-up time.
This is also the first time the Bell Subaru 412EPX was displayed in North America since the aircraft was unveiled at Farnborough Air Show in 2018. The Bell Subaru 412 EPX benefits from a more robust main rotor gearbox dry run capability, increased internal maximum gross weight to 12,200 lb and mast torque output of +11% at speeds below 60 knots.
Additionally, the first production-representative Bell 525 – fitted with an oil-and-gas interior – made its Heli-Expo debut. The flight test programme is now transitioning to certification flight testing. The Bell 525 features fly-by-wire and is powered by two 1,800-shp GE Aviation GE CT7-2F1 engines, which received FAA type certification in 2019.