While the managers made attempts to sell the Bell 427 model, the Bell management announced their intention to start production of the Model427i helicopter in March 2004, which was supposed to provide the possibility of flying according to the rules of flight instruments. But the project was ultimately postponed – in favor of a new helicopter. Model429, which had a new airframe, another tail rotor, and cockpit. It was planned to involve the Japanese MitsuiBussanAerospace and Korean KAI in the serial production of these helicopters.
To launch the officially new project, Bell selected the international exhibition HeliExpo2005. The helicopter was demonstrated in two versions – medical evacuation and corporate. The first flight was planned for early 2006, and certification at the end of 2007. At the exhibition, KAI and Bell entered into an agreement according to which the first copies of the helicopters had to be assembled in February 2006.
The prototype Model429 was lifted into the air on February 27, but the subsequent ones after the test dragged on and the next prototype took off only on August 27, 2007.
In May 2009, Eurocopter launched a lawsuit against Bell, accusing it of infringing a patent on a skid landing gear, but Bell officials rejected the allegations. In June 2009, it was announced that certification of the model would be completed soon, the company already had pre-orders for 300 helicopters. Starting by the customer – “AirMethods Corporation,” the largest private medical aviation company.
“Bell” takes into account the wishes of customers, and Model429 is offered in medical evacuation, corporate and multi-purpose versions, but with improved features and a larger cabin. The company’s bosses discontinued Model427 in 2010, replacing it with Model429, which is referred to in some sources as GlobalRanger.
- Number of crew members: 1-2
- Cruising speed: 263km / h
- The greatest number of passengers: 6-7
- Length: 13 m
- Wing span: 11 m
- Range: 722 km
- Maximum speed: 287 km / h
- Weight: 1 925 kg
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & WhitneyCanadaPW207D1 turboshaft, 2x625l.s (466.06kW), 2×710 hp takeoff power
- Cruising speed: 273 km / h
- Practical ceiling: 5698m
- Cost: 5,000,000-5,000,000 USD