Bell has announced it’s delivered the first two 505s to Australian customers equipped with a new Garmin flight control system.
The two unnamed clients picked up the helicopters from the manufacturer’s facility in Mirabel, Canada, with the first delivered in May and the second in June.
The new Garmin GFC-600H system received its Supplemental Type Certificate in July 2021 and provides features such as altitude hold with speed stability and a hover assist mode.
Australian Aviation reported in March how Australia’s first Bell 429 helicopter with wheeled landing gear (WLG) was delivered to Sydney-based automotive retailer Alto Group.
The Textron-owned company said Alto would be utilising the helicopter for corporate and VIP transport and noted that the 429WLG option allows the aircraft to taxi along the ground for the added convenience of passengers and operators.
The addition of the new twin-engine aircraft brings Alto Group’s Bell helicopter fleet up to three.
“After a long and exhaustive evaluation, we found the Bell 429 helicopter, with the wheel landing gear configuration, as the right corporate helicopter for the Alto Group,” said Anthony Altomonte, managing director of Alto Group.
“As an owner and pilot, the Bell 429’s ease of operation and reliability, ample cabin space, coupled with its smooth and quiet ride allows us to travel more quickly and efficiently to our rural operations to support the Alto Group’s growth in Australia.”
Late last year, the NSW Police Force Aviation Command welcomed three new Bell 429 helicopters into its PolAir fleet, following a commissioning ceremony in Sydney.
The new helicopters will serve as PolAir 1, 3, and 4. These will be used to support the Force in patrols, search and rescue, and surveillance and specialist operations throughout NSW.
The 429s will replace the Force’s ageing helicopters, including an AS350 single-engine Squirrel and an AS355 twin-engine Squirrel, which have both been in operation since the 1990s, and a twin-engine EC135 that has been in operation since 2012.