A modernised version of the 1950s-era Bell 47 is about start production under the auspices of Scott’s-Bell 47 Inc, a company based in Le Sueur, Minnesota.
According Don Maguire, director of customer support and services at the company, the new variant will be powered by a Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft engine and will called the 47GT-6.
The new engine will provide power comparable to the Avco Lycoming TVO-435 280shp (209kW) piston engine which powered the G-model of the Bell 47, but should be lighter and more reliable.
The new version will be based on the design of the 47G-3B-2A and will be modified under a supplemental type certificate (STC) to incorporate the new R-R turboshaft. It will also receive a new instrument panel under the same STC.
Additionally, Maguire says it will receive new composite main rotor blades, LED exterior lighting and an updated interior.
Deliveries of the modernized helicopters will start in 2016, Maguire says, with the company taking orders for production in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
The 2016 list price for the new helicopter will be around $850,000.