Bell Helicopter introduces the Bell 429WLG
This week Bell Helicopter unveiled the latest upgrade to its Bell 429. The occasion was the NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) 2013 conference, held in Las Vegas, Nevada from 22 to 24 October. The main feature of the Bell 429WLG (pictured) is that its landing gear comprises three wheels instead of the traditional skids.
Bell says this helps reduce the drag associated with skids and leads to an increased cruise speed. The company also claims the helicopter is able to land in a larger variety of terrains and conditions compared to its skid-bearing cousins. Wheels also aid in taxiing in limited spaces, such as when positioning closer to fixed-based operators.
“Offering a wheeled landing gear option for the Bell 429 builds on our ongoing efforts to innovate our current products as we introduce new ones,” says Danny Maldonado, Bell Helicopter’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.
Apart from displaying the helicopter publicly for the first time, Bell announced it has already made its first sale of the 429WLG. Argentinean company Rio Iruya expects to take delivery of the helicopter in the first half of next year and intends to use it for corporate and VIP transport. “The development of the wheeled landing gear will benefit me tremendously while manoeuvring through the airports of my city, Buenos Aires, where in many cases helicopters and aeroplanes share the same landing platform,” says Sebastian Eskenazi, president and CEO of Rio Iruya.
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