Bell Helicopter completed the first flight of its twin-engine Bell 429 prototype at its Mirabel facility in Montreal on Tuesday and has obtained a video the event.

Two company pilots took turns at the controls during two 30min flights, hovering in ground effect during the 10am first flight, and climbing to 40ft (12m) for the second flight at 13:00. Lateral control included forward, aft and sideways flight. Bell 429 programme manager, Bill Stromberg, says there were “absolutely no problems” with the performance of the helicopter. “We were real pleased with what we saw,” he added.

The prototype is one of five Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D-powered Bell 429s that will be used during the certification programme. The company expects to accomplish first flight of aircraft number 02 in March, followed by 03, 04 and 05 in May, June and July, respectively.

Bell plans to freeze the aircraft’s configuration by year’s end. Deliveries are slated to start in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The video programme below, originally shown at a media briefing on 28 February, is a combination of both flights.

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Bell 429 first flight W445