Bell Helicopter has secured around 90 orders for its Model 429, which replaces the 427i unveiled at last year's Heli-Expo. Two-thirds of the tally are converted 427i orders, Bell says. The 429 was unveiled at the show last year and despite its higher price tag of $4 million, Bell says "all 427i customers have converted to the 429".

The 429 is a hybrid of the 427 and will form part of the company's future modular affordable product line.

First flight of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207-powered 429 is planned for early 2006, although some components will fly on a 427 test aircraft this year. Certification is planned for the first quarter of 2007 and first deliveries later that year.

Source: Flight International