PICTURE: Nigeria validates Bell 429

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has validated the Bell 429 for operation in the country and has endorsed the light twin's gross weight increase to 3,402kg (7,500lb).

Nigeria is the 15th country to approve the increased maximum gross weight for the Bell 429 based on Transport Canada's certification.

The additional 227kg of fuel and/or payload will allow customers to take full advantage of the aircraft's capabilities, and operate longer and heavier missions, says Bell.

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"Nigeria's validation of the 429 and its endorsement of the gross weight increase is very exciting for us as the country continues to expand its aviation services and infrastructure," says Bell's executive vice president of commercial sales and marketing, Danny Maldonado.

"As the most populous country in Africa, and its leading producer of oil, there is increasing demand for reliable rotorcraft in the oil and gas, utility/corporate, and parapublic sectors. The performance boost of the 429's increased gross weight will allow customers across all segments to fully utilise the capabilities of the aircraft to carry more fuel and equipment."

Transport Canada approved operation of the Bell 429 at 3,402kg in December 2011 after conducting an extensive technical evaluation.

To date, the Bell 429's increased gross weight has been approved by Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnam.