June 20, 2013
By Alton K. Marsh
Bell Helicopter is bringing yet another new helicopter model to market, this one a five-seater aimed at the utility, flight training, and law enforcement communities. The category is called short, light, single-engine. It was designed with customer input.
The first flight is set for 2014. The new helicopter is in the same class as the Bell 206 JetRanger introduced 50 years ago. It was time for an update, a company official said.
The helicopter will feature a high visibility, fully flat cabin floor with five forward-facing seats. It is designed to meet performance targets recommended by a customer advisory council, including a speed of 125 knots, a range of 360 to 420 nautical miles, and a useful load of 1,500 pounds.
It will be powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine rated at 450 to 550 shaft horsepower.
Improvements are aimed at reducing pilot workload, improving situational awareness, and delivering improved auto rotation capabilities.
The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the Collier Trophy for “the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”
AOPA and others urge FAA to quickly adopt regulations governing unmanned aerial systems (drones) to protect all airspace users.
A Florida flight school dove into airplane dealership when the opportunity to handle a new and aerobatic star came along last fall.
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