Bell Helicopter rolls out first 505 Jet Ranger X
By Matt Nicholls
Bell Helicopter Textron Canada celebrated a significant milestone today as it showcased its first completed Bell 505 Jet Ranger X to an enthusiastic crowd of dignitaries, employees and media at its production facility in Mirabel, Que.
By Matt Nicholls
It marked the first aircraft to roll off the production line since the Dallas, Tx.-based company established its assembly program north of the border last year.
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Christine St-Pierre, Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francaphonie, were among the government officials on hand, as were key Bell leaders including Bell Helicopter Textron Canada president Cynthia Garneau and Susan Griffin, executive vice president, commercial programs.
Bains and other officials kicked off the event with a guided tour of the 505 line by Garneau and had a chance to interact with some of the 900 Mirabel employees working on the 505 program. The new program has created more than 100 highly-skilled jobs at the Mirabel facility.
“When looking for locations to make investments, companies such as Bell Helicopter look for the most innovative countries – the ones with the most skilled and creative people who can turn ideas into solutions,” Bains said. “Our government’s support for innovation in the aerospace sector is a key part of our plan to drive economic growth to help create a better Canada. That means better jobs, better opportunities and better living standards for all Canadians. Bell’s investments in this country will keep the aerospace industry globally competitive and ensure that well-paying middle-class jobs stay in Canada.”
The 505 Jet Ranger X has a good chance to be key player in the international – and Canadian – marketplaces, as its reasonable price point of just over $1 million and multiple operational applications have caught the eye of operators. Bell already has more than 400 orders on the books for the short light single. The 505 was unveiled at the Paris Air Show in 2013 and received Transport Canada certification in 2016.