Bell to launch 429-on-wheels at NBAA Convention

Bell to launch 429-on-wheels at NBAA Convention 18 Oct, 13, Source: Bell

Bell has announced the launch of the 429WLG (Wheeled-Landing Gear, a clumsy acronym!) at the NBAA in Las Vegas next week.  Here are some photos of the new model, which was first announced at Heli-Expo earlier this year.  The event will be led by Danny Maldonado, Bell’s executive vice president of Sales and Marketing.

This is believed to be the first time a helicopter manufacturer has launched a new model at the NBAA Convention, unless someone can tell us otherwise

HeliHub.com understands that it is the wheeled variant which  has led to Bell pushing the certified maximum weight up from 7,000lb to 7,500lb, and while many national authorities have already agreed the higher figure, the FAA – and indeed EASA and others – have not yet approved the increase.  All the extra mechanicals required for the retractable wheels would make the useful load a lot less practical at the 7,000lb AUW limit.

However, Bell say that the point of this customization is not about the weight, but to give customers more flexibility for different missions that require different landing scenarios and taxi capabilities.  They see a strong benefit for Air Ambulance and VIP operators who need access to better maneuver on the ground and an accident scene or have the ability to taxi closer to FBO facilities at airports.

Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com

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