Bell Helicopter launched its Wheeled Landing Gear (WLG) version of its 429 light twin at this year’s NBAA show, held in Las Vegas in October.
The Bell 429 was launched a few years ago with skids but there’s a market for the wheel version where the helicopter needs to taxi on the ground, say across the apron to a passenger terminal. And because the landing gear retracts into the fuselage, the airframe is cleaner in the cruise, giving a small increase in speed.
Launch customer for the 429 WLG is Argentinian company Rio Iruya, who will use it for corporate and VIP transport. The aircraft is expected to be delivered in the first half of next year.
“It is an honour to be the world’s first operator of the Bell 429 with Wheeled Landing Gear,” said Sebastian Eskenazi, president and CEO of Rio Iruya. “The wheeled landing gear will benefit me tremendously while manoeuvring through the airports of my city, Buenos Aires.”
Features of the Bell 429 WLG include a fully-integrated glass cockpit with WAAS navigation and IFR capability, collective mounted throttle, damage tolerant hub and rotor system, and energy attenuating seats.
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