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Bell aircraft innovations at Heli-Expo


The Bell 525, powered by two 1,800-shp GE Aviation GE CT7-2F1 engines, which received FAA type certification in Fall 2019, made its Heli-Expo debut in Anaheim. (Photo: Bell)

Bell Textron Inc. at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California, introduced a range of new equipment enhancements across its current in-production commercial aircraft during.

“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, Bell, 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 following enhancements are available for new commercial aircraft and retrofittable across legacy commercial aircraft.

Bell 505 Jet Ranger X
The Bell 505, described by the company as the most mission-adaptable aircraft in the short light single market (in operation across 50 countries), will now include the Garmin G1000H NXi Flight Deck as standard equipment for 2020 production aircraft. The G1000H NXi is also now available for retrofit on existing Bell 505s.

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Bell 407GXi
Following FAA certification for single-pilot Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Bell Autopilot/3rd Axis, Bell explains the 407GXi’s new IFR capability allows all-weather operations while continuing to provide multi-mission capabilities reliably and effectively. Bell states the 407GXi offers the lowest direct operating costs of any IFR-capable helicopter on the market.

Bell also explains, including the 407GXi, it is the first OEM to certify a Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) for a light single-engine aircraft. HUMS monitoring covers drive system, engine, rotors, and it 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. Bell explains the Pulselite system has a direct impact on reducing the number of bird strikes. It is available by Bell as an aftermarket installation.

Bell 429 and Bell SUBARU 412EPX
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, with Bell pointing to features such as being nearly three pounds lighter per display unit, providing lower power consumption, expanded route mapping with five levels of declutter and a two-second power-up time.

A new executive interior option is also available for the Bell 429, which is being displayed at Bell’s booth during Heli-Expo. Bell’s executive interior options offers a new contemporary colour scheme, including leather and carpeted cabin space options.

Heli-Expo is also the first time the Bell Subaru 412EPX is on display in North America since the aircraft was unveiled at Farnborough Air Show in 2018. Bell explains the Subaru 412 EPX benefits from a more robust main rotor gearbox dry run capability, increased internal Maximum Gross Weight to 12,200 lbs. and mast torque output of +11 per cent at speeds below 60 knots.

Bell 525 Relentless
The first production-representative Bell 525, fitted with an oil-and-gas interior, is making its first Heli-Expo debut. Bell explains the 525 has made significant strides in flight test activity, completing major development testing requirements. The program is transitioning to certification flight testing.

Bell states the 525 delivers a generational leap forward with fly-by-wire which greatly increases safety through reduced pilot workload and enhanced situational awareness. The Bell 525 is powered by two 1,800-shp GE Aviation GE CT7-2F1 engines which received FAA type certification in Fall 2019.