Slovakia took delivery of its first Bell Helicopter Bell 429s for the Slovakian police recently. These aircraft will be primarily used for border protection, search and rescue, natural disaster relief missions and road traffic law enforcement.
The first aircraft arrived in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava in August, with a second chopper due later this year. According to sources, the Slovaks have set eyes on a fleet of eight helicopters in the end.
The Bell 429 is gaining customers in police forces around the world. Bell Helicopter has recently delivered 15 Bell 429s to the Turkish National Police, four Bell 429s to the New York Police Department, and the first of two Bell 429s to the Slovakian Police, and the Swedish National Police will receive their first Bell 429 later this year.
The renewed Aviation Unit of the New York Police Department (NYPD) is now on full strength. Bell Helicopter delivered the fourth and final Bell 429 on 16 July 2015, which will join the fleet that also includes a Bell 407GX (training) and two Bell 412EPs.
In 1948 the NYPD was the very first to use a Bell helicopter – a model 47 – as part of an airborne law enforcement team. The new Bell 429s replace the AgustaWestland A119s the NYPD operated for a while in the light helicopter role. The new chopper has more cabin space, a flat floor and able to seat up to seven passengers and one pilot.
They have better search capabilities with Trakkabeam searchlight, a EO/IR camera and can be deployed as air ambulance thanks to the hoist installed. Moreover, it is faster and has a better range than the retired AgustaWestland choppers, plus it has a fully-integrated glass cockpit and WAAS navigation / GPS to enhance the pilot’s situational awareness.
The Bells will be deployed mainly for surveillance, search for suspects, anti-terrorism and insertion of police forces. The Bell 412EPs the NYPD is flying are primarily tasked with air search and rescue at sea and standard fly with one or two divers on board. The 412EPs systems include radiation detection sensors for the anti-terrorism role and have flotation devices. None of the NYPD choppers are armed, but a select number of police officers and police snipers are trained to fire with rifles from the cabin area up to the Barret .50 heavy-caliber gun.
The NYPD Aviation Unit is based at former US Coast Guard station Floyd Bennet Field and has a personnel strength of about 70 officers, including crew and maintenance personnel.
Canada has ordered seven Bell 412EPI helicopters for the Canadian Coast Guard, Bell Helicopter announced on 10 April. The choppers will support the CCG’s maritime security and fisheries activities and will contribute to the safety, accessibility, sustainability and security of Canadian waters. Meanwhile, the first of 15 Bell 429’s ordered in May 2014, was delivered late last March.
The contract has a value of approximately CAN $155 million and was awarded to Bell Helicopter within the context of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Fleet Renewal Plan. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in June 2016, with one helicopter expected to be delivered every three months thereafter.
The coast guard will utilize the flexibility of the Bell 412EPI to support the non-military activities of multiple government departments and agencies, including the Department of National Defense, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Environment Canada. The aircraft will operate in all areas of Canada, including both coastal regions, inland waters such as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, and Canada’s expansive Arctic areas.
This contract for Bell 412’s follows a CCG contract announced in May 2014 for 15 Bell 429s. Bell Helicopter delivered the first of those last month.
Bell is quietly hoping for a Malaysian and or Asian order for the newest version of its legendary Huey helicopter. At 13 March 2014, only three days before the start of the LIMA 2015 Exhibitions, the American helicopter manufacturer decided to put its UH-1Y Venom plus the civilian Bell 429 WLG on the static display in Langkawi, Malaysia, during the duration of the show from 17 to 21 March.
The UH-1Y is being promoted in an official partnership of Bell with the US Marine Corps (USMC), which the letter just having finished a bilateral exercise with the Malaysian Armed Forces. Compared to the “old” Huey the new Yankee version features upgrades such as Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) extensions, newer options for targeting and precise fire and better lift.
Within the USMC the Bell UH-1Y operates often in tandem with the Bell AH-1Z Viper – the latest version of the older Cobra attack helicopter. With 85 percent of the parts of both choppers being common, Bell has provided the Marines with lower logistical costs and an easier supply chain. Malaysia is currently looking for an attack helicopter – with both the AH-1Z as well as the Turkish T-129 ATAK as a possible candidates.
Bell 429 WLG
Also at the LIMA Exhibitions’ static is the Bell 429 WLG, a light twin-engine helicopter featuring retractable wheeled landing gear, a fully integrated “glass” cockpit, advanced drive system and WAAS navigation and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capability certified for single or dual pilot operations. Additional safety features include a collective mounted throttle, damage tolerant hub and rotor system, and energy attenuating seats. After the LIMA the Bell 429 WLG will go on a demonstration tour that will also cover Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh.
Bell Helicopter scores at this weeks Heli-Expo 2015 in Orlando, Florida, USA The American rotary wing manufacturer has been filling up its book of both orders and likely orders. Probably the most impressive deal of all is the sale of 200 Bell 407GXPs for HEMS service, to which we dedicated a separate article.
Bell 505 Jet Ranger X
SECO International signed a letter of intent for 10 Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopters. The Japanese company will use the choppers for passenger transport, sightseeing, aerial photography, and TV broadcasting. Founded in 1983, SECO International of Nagoya operates a fleet of light helicopters. SECO also manages private owners’ aircraft with full operational support at its facility at Nagoya Airport.
The Bell 505, which first flew 10 November 2014, is a five-seat, single-engine, turbine helicopter. It has a fully flat floor, increased cabin volume and clam shell doors. Pilot workload is further reduced by the Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine with dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). The Bell 505 features a high inertia rotor system delivering better than before auto rotation capabilities.
Italy-based Elicompany ordered the first Bell 407GX to operate in Italy. Elicompany was established in 1979 and offers services such as corporate charter, power line inspection, pipeline patrol, mapping, aerial filming, and flight training. This is the first Bell helicopter purchased by the Italian company.
The Bell 407GX can accommodate six passengers. The aircraft also features the fully-integrated Garmin G1000H flight deck, with high resolution LCDs that display information, including the Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System, Helicopter Synthetic Vision Technology and Traffic Information System. The Bell 407GX also features a tail rotor camera.
Qiqihar Kun Feng General Aviation Co. purchases two Bell 407GXs, with the Chinese agricultural holding company signing a letter of intent to buy five Bell 505s.
Trinidad and Tobago Air Division
The National Operations Centre, Air Division (NOCAD), in Trinidad and Tobago ordered four Bell 429s in the Airborne Law Enforcement (ALE) configuration and a Bell 412EPI configured for Search and Rescue (SAR) tasks. The aircraft will be used throughout Trinidad and Tobago to provide 24/7 air support for national security and a variety of paramilitary missions including disaster relief aid, SAR and medical transportation.
The Bell 429 features extra large 60 inch side doors, as well as Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capability certified for single or dual pilot operations. First introduced in March 2013, the Bell 412EPI improves the Bell 412EP platform with the Bell BasiX Pro fully integrated glass flight deck, providing critical flight information at a glance for greater situational awareness and safety. Hold on to your seat for some technical “mambo-jumbo”: the system is optimized for IFR, Category A and JAR OPS3 compliant operations. The avionics suite also includes high resolution digital maps, electronic charts and approach plates, ADS-B transponder and optional HTAWS and XM satellite links. The new Bell 412EPI is powered by Pratt and Whitney’s PT6T-9 Twin Pac engines.
New Bell 525
Waypoint Leasing expressed its intent to acquire 20 Bell 525 Relentless, planning to use the rotary wing for its services that include missions for the oi and gas industry, emergency medical service, search and rescue, firefighting and governmental support. The Irish lesser’s existing fleet of more than 90 aircraft includes Bell 407s and Bell 412s.
The Bell 525 is the world’s first Western-made fly-by-wire commercial helicopter. It has a touch screen flight deck, the Garmin G5000H. The first flight of this new machine is scheduled for Spring 2015.