The History of Bell Helicopter: 2010 - Present

Fire-X2010

  • Bell Helicopter delivers the 1,000th Bell 407 at its Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, facility to longtime customer Shin-Nihon Helicopter Corporation Ltd.
  • Fire-X Unmanned Vertical System, developed by Bell Helicopter and Northrop Grumman Corporation, flies for the first time at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Yuma Proving Grounds facility in AZ.
  • Northrop Grumman and Bell Helicopter successfully test the Fire-X.
  • Bell Helicopter sells two Bell 429s to Chevron, signifying the company’s entry into the oil and gas industry.
  • The U.S. Army awards new “F” designation for the Bell OH-58 Program.
  • Air Medical Holdings Group signs an agreement for 16 helicopters.
  • China places its first order for the Bell 429.
  • Shin-Nihon Helicopter Corporation takes possession of the 1,000th Bell 407.
  • The Bell Training Academy receives European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) training approval for the Bell 429.
  • The Bell 407GX completes first flight at Xworx in early 2010 and is certified later the same year. The Garmin G1000H™ was installed in the Bell 407 airframe creating a fully integrated avionics cockpit giving greater situational awareness to pilots.
  • Aviation International News (AIN) names Bell Helicopter number one in its Product Support Survey for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Bell Helicopter acquires Aviation Service, a provider of modifications and upgrades, avionics, and special mission packages, based in Prague, Czech Republic.

Bell 407AH2011

  • The Bell 407GX and 407AH are unveiled during Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo in Orlando, FL. 
  • Bell Helicopter delivers the first Bell 429 with multi-mission configuration for both Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) and parapublic operations.
  • The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is debuted to potential Middle Eastern customers at the Dubai International Air Show.
  • Earning certification in China, the Bell 429 is poised for an increase in its Asia-Pacific presence.
  • The Bell 429 is selected for the Royal Australian Navy Retention and Motivation Initiative Contract.
  • Bell Helicopter and Cessna Aircraft Company break ground on a new service facility in Singapore. As a replacement for the Bell Helicopter Supply Center, this operation is planned to strengthen Bell Helicopter’s Asia-Pacific sales presence and add Cessna parts distribution and maintenance to the region.
  • Strong Aviation, headquartered in Kuwait City, takes delivery of a Bell 429. This marks Bell Helicopter’s first delivery into the Middle East.
  • The National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil awards Brazilian certification to the Bell 429, allowing the aircraft to operate in an area where there is a significant established base of Bell Helicopter operators.
  • The Bell 407GX earns EASA certification, granting approval for the aircraft to operate in Europe.
  • During a U.S. Army test demonstration, the Kiowa Warrior successfully proves manned and unmanned capability.
  • The Bell Helicopter Huey II fleet surpasses 300,000 flight hours.
  • Bell Helicopter completes integration of Edwards & Associates, Inc., Aeronautical Accessories, Inc., Rotor Blades, Inc., Acadian Composites, Bell Aerospace Services Inc., and U.S. Helicopter, offering a more integrated customer support and service offering to the customer.

2012

  • A mock-up of the new Bell 525 Relentless, the world’s first “super-medium” helicopter, is unveiled during Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo in Dallas, TX.
  • The first Bell Helicopter maintenance training facility opens in China.
  • Ground is broken on Bell Helicopter’s new global headquarters in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Cessna Aircraft Company and Bell Helicopter receive European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Certification for a new Prague Service Facility.
  • After an extensive evaluation period of helicopter manufacturers across North America and Europe, the Turkish National Police purchase 15 Bell 429s for use in a full array of law enforcement missions, from surveillance to air support of ground operations. They purchase an additional five later that year.
  • The OH-58 Kiowa Warrior achieves two million flight hours.
  • Bell Helicopter delivers its first Bell 429 from Singapore Service Center, marking a significant milestone in the company’s mission to expand international capabilities and respond to its global customer base.
  • An agreement with Air Methods is signed for 20 Bell 407GXs. Air Methods’ relationship with Bell Helicopter dates back to 1980 with the purchase of their first Bell 206L1.
  • Bell Helicopter opens offices in Shanghai, China, expanding support to customers in the rapidly growing Chinese market. The company signs purchase agreements for 15 aircraft at Airshow China a month after opening.

2013

  • Bell Helicopter announces its return to the Short Light Single (SLS) engine helicopter market during the Paris Air Show.
  • Service and customization offerings are expanded at Bell Helicopter and Cessna Aircraft Company’s Singapore location.
  • The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) validates the Bell 429 for operation in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.
  • Bell Helicopter introduces the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor mock-up at the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Show.
  • A new assembly facility in Louisiana is announced for the Short Light Single (SLS).
  • Unveiled at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo, the Bell 407GT is an armed version of the popular Bell 407GX.
  • Bell Helicopter introduces the Bell 412EPI, which includes a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) for a PT6T-9 engine upgrade and an integrated avionics flight deck. The first customer ship delivers later this year to Abu Dhabi Aviation.
  • During an in-flight test, the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey deploys and demonstrates refueling capabilities.
  • The U.S. Army awards Bell Helicopter a Technology Investment Agreement (TIA) for the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) program for the Bell V-280 Valor.
  • Bell Helicopter delivers the first Bell 429s to Nigeria.
  • The Bell MQ-8C Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle completes its first flight. The test hop, conducted at Naval Base Ventura County near Oxnard, CA, logged 7 minutes in the air and involved autonomous control.
  • Poland, Russia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom receive deliveries of their first Bell 407GX aircraft.
  • The Bell 429 Wheeled Landing Gear is unveiled during the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Show in Las Vegas.

Bell V-280

Bell 505 First Flight2014

  • Formally known as the Short Light Single, the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is introduced during Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) Heli-Expo in Anaheim, CA.
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully completes precision sloped landing tests with its modified Bell OH-58/MQ-8C Fire Scout in preparation of at-sea testing.
  • Bell Helicopter Training Academy (BTA) receives renewal of Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) certification and approval to conduct six new technical training courses at the Bell Helicopter Singapore Service Center, expanding the BTA’s ability to provide regulated maintenance courses in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Heli-Securite, a leading helicopter charter company in France, receives delivery of the very first VIP Bell 429 in country.
  • Bell Helicopter completes a two-month Huey II and Bell 407GT demo tour in the Middle East, performing demonstration flights for the Royal Jordanian Air Force, Royal Jordanian Special Operations Brigade and the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command.
  • Delivery of the first Bell 407GX in India is made to SpanAir, the country’s leading air charter company.
  • The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X completes its first flight in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada.
  • Bell Helicopter delivers the first parapublic Bell 412EPI to the New South Wales Police Force.
  • Aviation International News (AIN) names Bell Helicopter number one in its Product Support Survey for the ninth consecutive year.
  • TRU Simulation + Training and Bell Helicopter announce a collaboration effort to open the first Bell Helicopter training center in Valencia, Spain.
  • Bell Helicopter begins consolidation of its Dallas/Fort Worth area offices to its new global headquarters in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Ground is broken on Bell Helicopter’s state-of-the-art training academy on the campus of its headquarters in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Aviation Service, Inc. is integrated into Bell Helicopter, and becomes Bell Helicopter – Prague, offering service, modifications and customization services to European customers.
  • Bell Helicopter is named number one in customer service for the 20th consecutive year by Professional Pilot magazine.
  • U.S. President George H. W. Bush jumps out of a Bell 429 to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Training Academy2015

  • Bell Helicopter announces a purchase agreement with National Operations Centre, Air Division in Trinidad and Tobago, for the Bell 429 and 412 EPI. The aircraft will provide 24/7 air support for national security and a variety of parapublic missions.
  • Installation begins on the first Bell 429 to be outfitted with Mecaer Aviation Group’s VVIP luxury interior.
  • An upgraded Bell 407GXP, featuring an additional 50 lbs (22.5 kg) of payload capability and the new Rolls-Royce M250 engine that improves performance and fuel efficiency, is introduced. The aircraft is also equipped with new avionics features, including an improved hover performance calculator.
  • Bell Helicopter and Air Methods Corporation sign an agreement for 200 Bell 407GXPs, marking one of the largest commercial sales in Bell Helicopter’s history.
  • Waypoint Leasing signs a letter of intent for the largest order of the Bell 525 Relentless to date.
  • Qiqihar Kun Feng General Aviation Co. announces the purchase of two Bell 407GXs and a letter of intent to purchase five Bell 505s.
  • The Mexican Air Force purchases 15 Bell 407GXs.
  • The first Bell 429s, configured for Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in the Middle East, will be operated by the Kuwait Ministry of Health.
  • Bell 505 aircraft number 2 successfully completes its first flight.
  • Bell Helicopter delivers a Bell 429 to Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) to aid in geological mapping and mineral exploration. This marks the first Bell 429 delivered to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • A joint regional office is opened by Bell Helicopter and Textron in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The new facility serves as a hub to facilitate sales and marketing efforts for Bell Helicopter in the region.
  • Bell Helicopter receives an Approved Training Organization (ATO) certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), becoming the first ATO approved outside EASA’s member states to provide Part Flight Crew Licensing (Part-FCL) training courses for the Bell 407 and Bell 429.
  • The Hurun Report Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2015, conducted by the Hurun Research Institute, awards the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X “Best Light Single Engine Helicopter” in China.
  • Bell Helicopter opens offices in Tokyo, Japan.