Christmas has come early for Bell Helicopter with the receipt of Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) type certification for its new Bell 505 Jet Ranger X.
The type certification, received on December 21, means Bell has met its target for certification of the aircraft before the end of 2016.
While Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification is expected to follow in a matter of weeks, Bell is also expecting to imminently receive its production certification for the 505 before announcing its first customer deliveries early in 2017.
“Today’s announcement reaffirms Bell Helicopter’s unwavering commitment to develop and introduce new and enhanced products to the marketplace,” said Bell Helicopter’s president and chief executive Mitch Snyder.
“The Bell 505 is truly a game changer in the short light single market, and we are proud of the excellent team that drove this program through certification as well as our suppliers, customers, certification authorities and the customer advisory panel that worked with us every step of the way.”
Unveiled in 2013 to replace and update the Bell 206 JetRanger, which ceased production in 2010, the new five-seat, single turbine helicopter went from concept to first flight in just 20 months and has since flown more than 1,000 hours of flight testing.
Powered by a Safran Helicopter Engines’ Arrius 2R engine with dual channel FADEC, the US$1 million 505 features a fully integrated Garmin G1000H cockpit with dual 26.4 cm display screens, has a useful load of 1,500lb (680kg) and a range of 360nm (667km).
The 505 will be produced at Bell’s Mirabel, Quebec facility. In May 2016, Bell said it would be relocating the helicopter’s final assembly to Mirabel from a purpose-built facility in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Bell, which currently holds more than 400 letters of intent for the 505, plans to produce 50 in 2017 and then ramp up to annual production of 150 in 2018.