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Bell returns to light single-engine helicopter production

June 19, 2013 at 2:15 PM

PARIS, June 19 (UPI) -- Bell Helicopter of the United States is returning to manufacturing short, light single-engine helicopters.

The aircraft will feature a high-visibility flat cabin floor, will fly at 125 knots, have a range of up to 420 nautical miles and carry a payload of 1,500 pounds.

The aircraft will be powered by Turbomeca's Arrius 2R engine and the aircraft was designed to specifications from a customer advisory council, it said.

"Bell Helicopter is no stranger to the short light single market," said John Garrison, president and chief executive officer of Bell Helicopter. "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, modernized aircraft to meet requirements of five-seat utility, training, private and law enforcement operators."

Bell, which announced the decision at the Paris Air Show, said it expects its new aircraft to complete its first flight next year, with certifications to follow.

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