Now that Bell Helicopter has signed collaboration agreements with Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd (KAI) and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace Company Ltd. to develop, certify, produce and market the 427i light twin IFR helicopter the efforts to bring the new aircraft to market have stepped-up significantly. Customers are stepping up also with 47 purchase orders already signed and 20 more expected before the end of the year.
Commenting on development efforts Mr. Mike Redenbaugh, Chief Executive Officer for Bell Helicopter, said, “ The 427i represents Bell’s commitment to the commercial market. It is clear that by our investment in the 427 to make it meet customer requirements that we are in this market to stay. We designed this aircraft with the direct input of our customers and we are still talking with them as development moves forward. Over two years of study and evaluation have gone into producing what will be a great single pilot IFR rated light twin.”
KAI is designing the fuselage, cabin wiring and fuel systems and providing support in several other areas. Once the aircraft is certified and goes into production KAI will produce those same systems for the aircraft.
More details about the avionics suite on the 427i have emerged. Equipped with a glass cockpit, the aircraft will be an all-digital data bus aircraft as far as avionics go. The standard Comm, Nav, GPS suite will be the Garmin 430.
The instrument panel will have Rogerson and Kratos large screen multi-functional displays. These same displays have been used for over a year in 412s Bell manufactured for another client. They are proven and very reliable.
Additionally it will have a Bell developed autopilot that offers stability augmentation. It will be coupled to the NAV system and the standard configuration will be 3-axis dual autopilot. An optional 4th axis will be available.
It will have a Bell developed ADIU (Aircraft Data Interface Unit) that does all the data conversions to digital format for display in the glass cockpit. The ADIU has engine monitoring, logging and tracking ability and it will also cover power assurance, hover performance and weight & balance automatically.
Not forgetting about current 427 customers, many of the improvements made to the 427IFR will be available in kit form for current owners.
427i Development Collaboration Underway, Over 47 Orders Placed