Bell plans to fly its Model 427 light twin-turbine helicopter early in December. The first of two prototypes is in the final stages of assembly at Bell's Mirabel, Canada, commercial-helicopter plant.

The company has orders for more than 65 aircraft, with US certification planned for December 1998 and deliveries to begin in January 1999.

The eight-seat 427 is being developed jointly with Samsung Aerospace of South Korea. It is a growth version of the Bell 407 light single-turbine helicopter, powered by two 450kW (600shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206D turboshafts. Samsung manufactures the cabin and tailboom, while Bell's plant at Fort Worth, Texas, supplies the dynamic system, including the new direct-input main gearbox. Final assembly is at Bell's Mirabel plant near Montreal, but Samsung will assemble 427s for sale in Korea and China.

Source: Flight International