Bell has reached a point at the factory in Mirabel, Canada, that it has now registered the 300th 429. This likely means the aircraft is close to manufacture completion and start on the flight test phase.
Serial #57300 will carry the local test registration C-FLZC. There is no indication at this stage which customer has their name pencilled in against this airframe. The 429 has – as a helicopter model – now proven itself as the most popular light twin ever produced by Bell, with production clearly ahead of the 222, it’s previous best selling light twin with a production total of 191.
Within three years we expect the Bell 429 to reach a production total of 464. This is the point where it matches the combined production of the 222, 230, 427 and 430.
By comparison, Airbus Helicopters has now produced 1200 EC135s and over 810 AS355s, while AgustaWestland are close to a total of 1500 AW109s.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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