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Heli-Expo (video): Launch customer for Bell 407HP revealed

5th March 2015 - 15:19 GMT | by Beth Maundrill, Grant Turnbull in Orlando

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Eagle Copters has revealed the launch customer for the 407HP at Heli-Expo 2015 in Orlando.

Air Resources Helicopters has placed an order for two of the modified Bell 407 aircraft, with hopes for a third order to be placed in the future.

The announcement follows Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of the aircraft in December 2014, not long after the Transport Canada certification was awarded.

‘The Transport Canada certification and the FAA certification actually came within two weeks of each other,’ David ‘Spyke’ Whiting, VP sales and marketing at Eagle Copters, told Shephard.

‘It wasn’t long after that that our launch customer signed the letter of intent that we are celebrating today.’

The 407HP replaces the OEM-installed Rolls Royce C47 turbine engine with a Honeywell HTS900 turbine engine. The modification increases the aircraft’s gross weight capacity at 10,000ft by 19% and provides 22% more shaft horse power.

‘Honeywell and Bell approached us to see if Eagle would be interested in taking on the conversion, it’s been a long time and a lot of years but Honeywell had invested money in the engine programme and Bell knew that the match of the engine with the Bell 407 frame would be a winner,’ Whiting said.

‘Some of that work was paid for, we just had to get it through the certification process.’

The modification also increases speed, reduces fuel consumption and incorporates a dual-channel full authority digital engine control.  

Initially the company thought that the hot and high altitude utility market would be the only market this aircraft would serve, however interest outside of this sector has been generated.

Delivery of the first 407HP to Air Resources Helicopters is expected in June.

Eagle Copters said it will manufacture around two aircraft per month with total demand for the 407HP potentially topping 300 units.

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