Bell unveils 412EP power boost, hints at future upgrades

Washington DC
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Bell Helicopter has unveiled a new power and cockpit upgrade plan for the 412EP as the four-bladed, light-twin nears its 30th anniversary in commercial service.

A supplemental type certificate planned for approval in 2012 will boost the power of both 900shp (670 kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-3BE Twin-Pac engines by 15%, the company says.

Glass display units introduced on the Bell 429 medium-twin also will be installed in the 412EP to provide operators with a standard configuration.

The technology refresh marks the latest evolution of the 5,397kg (11,900lb) 412 type since Bell adapted the aircraft from the two-bladed 212 helicopter in 1981.

"Our customers told us what they need and we are delivering," says Larry Roberts, senior vice-president for Bell's commercial business.

Bell's new upgrade package comes less than a year after AgustaWestland unveiled the A109 Grand New at the 2010 Heli-Expo.

The 412EP engine upgrade also includes the introduction of electronic engine controls to increase performance in hot temperatures at high altitudes.

Bell also notes the electronic controls also "provides a path for a future upgrade for increased range and payload". Each PT6T is capable of producing up to 2,000shp for other applications. The 412EP's current range is 745km (402nm) at maximum weight.