Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X type certification has been accepted by the Australian Government’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
Unveiled in 2013, the new, five-seat helicopter went from concept to a successful first flight in 20 months. Since then, the aircraft has flown more than 1,000 flight hours and undergone rigorous activities to ensure customers have superior handling qualities and payload performance.
“We are excited that the much-anticipated Bell 505 Jet Ranger X can now be delivered to operators in Australia,” said Sameer A. Rehman, Bell Helicopter’s managing director for Asia Pacific. “The Bell 505 will fundamentally change the way the world views the short light single market. This certification effort was supported by Hawker Pacific, Bell’s authorized, independent representative, helping make the Australian certification process a smooth one. We are proud of the excellent team which achieved this milestone.”
The customer response has been astounding with more than 400 letters of intent worldwide since the initial launch in 2014. The Bell 505 offers operators many standout advantages including the Safran Helicopter Engines (HE) Arrius 2R engine, incorporating the dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) for the purpose of delivering exceptional performance and reducing pilot workload. A first-in-class fully integrated Garmin G1000H flight deck features dual 10.4-inch (26.4 cm) displays, which provide critical flight information for crews at a glance. Through Bell Helicopter’s high inertia rotor system, Bell Helicopter has demonstrated throughout the flight test program exceptional autorotation capability that is part of the Jet Ranger legacy.
The news on the CASA validation of Type Certification follows a back half of 2016 which saw a significant increase in order activity for the helicopter manufacturer. The company saw a strong conversion of letters of intent (LOI) on the 505, which is on track for U.S. FAA approval in the first quarter of 2017. Company officials see growth in the tourism and light utility sectors and increasing parapublic rotorcraft usage as spurring the demand for the high performing portfolio of Bell Helicopter products throughout the Asia Pacific region.
“Australian aviation has long set the benchmark of safety, reliability, and the need for aircraft to continually meet performance requirements,” continued Rehman. “The Bell 505 is perfectly suited for discerning Australian operators and will raise the bar by which others in this product segment are judged.”
With a speed of 125 knots (232 km/h), range of 340 nautical miles (629 km) and useful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kg), the Bell 505 is designed to be safe and easy to fly while providing significant value to the operator. The customer-driven design of the aircraft places safety, performance and affordability at the forefront, blending proven systems with advanced technology and a sleek, modern design.
Every Bell helicopter is backed by the largest support network in the industry with more than 100 Authorized Customer Service Facilities located around the globe. The Bell 505 is now available for expanded support offerings through Bell Helicopter’s Customer Advantage Plans (CAP), which provides customers with comprehensive coverage solutions for daily operations. The plans offer a fixed-price-per-flight-hour that provides predictable maintenance costs, priority access to parts and assemblies, and ease of maintenance and planning. Additionally, the Bell Helicopter Training Academy is prepared for entry into service with customer training, and the flight training device and coursework are all on track.
Date: Mar 2, 2017