Bell’s new 429 light twin helicopter is currently on a two week sales tour of Australia where it is being demonstrated to various potential Defence, EMS, police and private customers.
Bell 429 demonstrator aircraft N10984, which features a standard seven-seat configuration, has so far visited southeast Queensland, Sydney (Bankstown) and Canberra, and later this week is due to visit Adelaide and Melbourne before returning to Sydney at the conclusion of its Australian tour this weekend.
As a contender for the ADF’s project Air 9000 Phase 7 Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) contract, which is due for second pass approval between 2011 and 2013, the 429 was demonstrated to Army personnel at Oakey last week and to senior ADF personnel in Canberra on August 17, while on August 18 it was due to visit Naval Air Station Nowra. Raytheon and Bell recently announced their teaming to bid the 429 for Air 9000 Phase 7.
No 429s are currently on order for Australian customers, but the sales tour is generating strong interest in the type, according to Peter Crook, rotary wing sales director for local Bell agent Hawker Pacific. The first customer 429 entered service in the US in late March.
An Airtest of the 429 is due to appear in the October edition of Australian Aviation.