Bell re-enters Short Light Single market


Bell Helicopter has announced its return to the Short Light Single (SLS) engine helicopter market with a five-seat entry-level aircraft featuring a high visibility, fully flat cabin floor with five forward-facing seats.

Bell says the new aircraft, based on the input of a customer advisory council, is designed for a speed of 125 knots (232 km/h), a range of 360 to 420 nautical miles (667km) and a useful load of 608kg. It should complete its first flight next year.

“Bell Helicopter is no stranger to the Short Light Single market,” Bell Helicopter president and CEO John Garrison said this week at the 2013 Paris Air Show.

“We developed it nearly 50 years ago with the introduction of the Bell 206 JetRanger and are proud to have produced nearly 7,400 Bell 206 series aircraft since 1967 with over 4,400 remaining in service today.

“However, we needed to create a new, modernised aircraft to meet [the] requirements of five-seat utility, training, private and law enforcement operators,” Garrison said.

“The SLS class is both extremely competitive and price sensitive, so we collaborated with customers to incorporate their mission needs in a high performance, high value helicopter at a very competitive price.”

In a press release Bell said the new aircraft would be powered by the Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine, “which will offer the benchmark for performance and power in the 450-550 shp class, while improving safety and lowering pilot workload with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).It will also meet IATA Stage 4 noise targets.”

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company said the helicopter’s design would reduce pilot workload, improve situational awareness and deliver superior auto rotation capabilities.

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