Tridair has applied to the US Federal Aviation Administration for clearance to install the Gemini twin-engined conversion in the Bell 407. Bell Helicopter Textron has opted not to develop the helicopter as a twin.

Tridair president Doug Daigle expects to receive a response from the FAA before the end of February about his company's plan to offer the supplemental-type-certificate programme, which will be based on its existing 206 STL-1/3 and -4 conversion. If approved, the 407 system will be called the Gemini HP after Hans Peter, one of the company's pilots who was killed in an accident in 1995.

In efforts to stimulate sales of the conversion, Tridair has introduced a new version of its Gemini ST system to provide twin-turbine power in the single-engined Bell 206L. Daigle says that the new version of the system will be called the Gemini BT, or Basic Twin. The helicopter will be fitted with two Allison 250C-20B engines, and incorporate standard instrumentation found in the original Bell 206.

Unlike the Gemini ST, the "BT" will not be certificated as a combined single/twin, but will have the added performance of the second powerplant.

The cost of the conversion will be in the region of $500,000, which Daigle says provides an "-entry-level twin at a price people can afford".

Tridair is also introducing a series of product enhancements to the Gemini series, including an increase in useful fuel load of almost 115litres, and a gross-weight increase to 2,020kg, equivalent to 135kg of additional payload.

Source: Flight International