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Bell unveils improved 407 variant

Fort Worth-based Bell unveiled the 407GXi with new avionics and engine technology on 26 February at the Heli-Expo convention in Las Vegas.

Bell will start delivering the 407GXi to customers in the spring after achieving Transport Canada certification in January, says Bell chief executive Mitch Snyder.

The four-bladed, single-engined light helicopter will be the first in its size class to feature a dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system.

The FADEC will manage the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce M250-C47E/4 turboshaft engine, which includes a value improvement package that can reduce specific fuel consumption by up to 8%.

Bell says the 407GXi, which will become the standard model as it enters production, also features the Garmin G1000H NXi cockpit. The avionics upgrade includes a full re-wiring of the electronics system, making the package too extensive to offer as a retrofit option, Bell says.

The upgraded model could help Bell recover from what Snyder calls an industry-wide “dip” in aircraft deliveries in the 407’s size class in 2017.

Although deliveries had fallen, demand for the aircraft actually grew during the year, as Chinese operator Shaanxi Helicopter ordered 100 aircraft.

This article has been amended to correct the name of the company and order quantity in the final paragraph.

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