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Bell 407
Role Multipurpose utility helicopter
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter Textron
First flight June 29, 1995[1]
Introduction 1996
Status In service
Produced 1995–present
Number built 1,082 as of 2011[1]
Unit cost
US$2.54 million (2009)[1]
Developed from Bell 206L
Variants Bell ARH-70
Developed into Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire-X

The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter; a derivative of the Bell 206L-4 LongRanger. The 407 uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with composite hub developed for the United States Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior instead of the two-blade, semi-rigid, teetering, rotor of the 206L-4. The Bell 407 is frequently used for corporate and offshore transport, as an air ambulance, law enforcement, electronic news gathering and movie making. The Bell 417 was a variant of the Bell 407 based on the Bell ARH-70.

Design and development

In 1993, Bell began the development of the New Light Aircraft as a replacement for its Model 206 series. The program resulted in the 407, a development of Bell's LongRanger.[2] A 206L-3 LongRanger was modified to serve as the 407 demonstrator.[2] The demonstrator used hardware for the 407 and added molded fairings to represent the 407's wider fuselage then under development.[2]

The demonstrator was first flown on April 21, 1994, and the 407 program was publicly announced at the Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 1995.[2][3] The first 407 prototype (C-GFOS) accomplished its maiden flight on June 29, 1995, and the second prototype (C-FORS) followed on July 13, 1995. After a short development program, the first production 407 (C-FWQY/N407BT) flew on November 10, 1995.[1]

Bell 407 at HeliRussia 2008

The Bell 407 features the four-blade main rotor developed for the OH-58D (Model 406). The blades and hub use composite construction without life limits, and provide better performance and a more comfortable ride. The 407's fuselage is 8 inches (18 cm) wider, increasing internal cabin space, and includes main cabin windows that are 35% larger. The more powerful Rolls-Royce/Allison 250-C47 turboshaft allows an increase in Maximum Takeoff Weight and improves performance at hotter temperatures and/or higher altitudes.[2] The 407's airframe is generally similar to the LongRanger, but includes a carbon fiber composite tailboom. The helicopter has standard seating for two crew and five cabin seats.[4]

The 407 was certificated by Transport Canada on February 9, 1996, with the FAA following shortly after on February 23.[1][5] Full production began in 1996 at Bell's Mirabel, Quebec, Canada plant and produced 140 airframes in 1997, to fill the initial orders.[4]

Bell 407 at Hamburg harbour temporary heliport, Germany

In 1995, Bell tested a shrouded tail rotor on the 407,[3] but did not proceed. For a time, Bell studied developing the Model 407T twin-engine variant, but instead chose to develop the essentially all new twin PW206D powered Bell 427.[2]

Bell began deliveries of the 407 in 1996. The 1,000th helicopter was delivered on June 15, 2010.[1]

ARH-70 and Bell 417

The ARH-70 armed reconnaissance helicopter, developed for the U.S. Army was based on the 407, but was later canceled on October 16, 2008.[6]

The Bell 417 was a growth variant of the Bell 407, in essence a civil version of the Bell ARH-70. The 417 made its first flight on June 8, 2006.[7] The 417 was to be powered by a Honeywell HTS900 turboshaft engine, producing 970 shp (720 kW) and includes full FADEC controls. The cabin sat 5 passengers in club-seating configuration, in addition to the crew of two.[8] The civilian 417 was canceled at Heli-Expo 2007 in Orlando.[9]

Bell 407GX and 407GT

Bell 407 GT Experimental helicopter at Airpower 2013 in Zeltweg, Austria

On March 4, 2013, Bell unveiled a new armed version of the Bell 407GX, named the 407GT. It incorporates the Garmin G1000HTM flight deck to easily provide flight information. It can include infrared cameras, various armaments, and equipment to perform different missions such as armed transport, search and rescue, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation. The GT version uses the universal weapons pylon (UWP), derived from the Bell OH-58 Kiowa, to carry different weapons including machine guns, rockets, and anti-armor missiles.[10][11]

Operational history

Helitack 63: a Bell 407 used for firefighting.

Bell made delivery of the first production 407 at Heli-Expo, in Dallas, Texas in February 1996. Launch customers for the aircraft were Petroleum Helicopters, Niagara Helicopters, and Greenland Air.[1][12]

On 23 May 2007, Colin Bodill and Jennifer Murray completed a record pole-to-pole around the world flight utilizing a standard Bell 407. The flight originated from Bell's facility at the Fort Worth Alliance Airport on December 5, 2006. The team flew about 36,000 miles (58,000 km) over 189 days and 300 flight hours, through 34 different countries. The project, named Polar First, was performed in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society to provide educational outreach to 28 international schools, which were visited during the trip. The project also served as a fundraiser for the SOS Children's Villages.[13]

In 2009 the Iraqi Air Force ordered three Bell 407 armed scout helicopters (similar to the canceled ARH-70).[14] A contract for 24 additional Bell 407s with an option for 26 more was awarded in April of that same year.[15] The U.S. Army is managing modifications and installation of military equipment on the helicopters.[16] Three training T-407s were delivered to the Iraqi Army in 2010. Armed IA-407s were delivered in eight batches of three aircraft from August 2012 to April 2013. The final Bell 407 for Iraq was delivered on 3 April 2013.[17] There are 30 in service; 24 armed scouts, 3 gunships, and 3 trainers.[18]

Iraq is using the IA-407 in operations against Islamic State militants. On 8 October 2014, militants shot down an IA-407 using a shoulder-fired ground-to-air missile, killing the pilot and co-pilot.[19]



Kansas Highway Patrol Bell 407

Bell 407 
A civil utility helicopter, a derivative of the Bell 206L-4.[1]
An upgraded 407 version to serve as an armed reconnaissance helicopter.
Bell 417 
Planned civil version of the ARH-70, was canceled.
Bell 407 Light Observation Helicopter 
A military reconnaissance version.[4]
Eagle 407 HP 
Version from Eagle Copter (Alberta, Canada) with a more powerful Honeywell HTS900 engine, rated at 1,021 shp (760 kW).[20][21]
Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire-X 
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) version being developed by Northrop Grumman and Bell Helicopter as a cargo resupply demonstrator.[22][23][24] The test aircraft flew on 10 December 2010 at the Yuma Proving Ground.[25] In February 2011, the US Navy's budget request for 2012 included funds to buy 12 Fire-X helicopters under the designation MQ-8C.[26]
Bell 407AH 
An armed civil-certified version for use with government and security forces.[27]
Bell 407GX 
Version of the 407 that features the new Garmin G1000 H-model glass cockpit along with superior avionics and improved flight controls.[28]
Bell 407GT 
Armed version of the 407GX.[10]
Bell 407GXP 
Enhanced performance version of the 407GX that features the new Garmin G1000 H-model glass cockpit along with superior avionics and improved flight controls.[29]


Interior of Baltimore Helicopter Services Bell 407

The Bell 407 is in civil service around the world with airlines, corporations, hospital, government operators and private individuals. It is also in service with several military operators.

Military operators

The Bell 407 is currently being flown by the following military operators:

 El Salvador
 United Arab Emirates

Specifications (Bell 407)

Bell 407 rotorhead. The "box" under the yellow cap contains a Frahm damper which reduces 4-per-revolution vibrations.

Data from Bell 407[33]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: Typical seating configuration for seven comprising pilot and passengers, with five passengers in main cabin. Max hook capacity 1200 kg (2645 lb).[2]
  • Length: 41 ft 8 in (12.7 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)
  • Disc area: 962 ft² (89 m²)
  • Empty weight: 2,668 lb (1,210 kg)
  • Useful load: 2,347 lb (internal) (1,065 kg (internal))
  • Max. takeoff weight: 6,000 lb (2,722 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Allison 250-C47B turboshaft, 813 shp (606 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 140 knots (161 mp/h, 260 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 133 knots (152 mp/h, 246 km/h)
  • Range: 324 nmi (372 mi, 598 km)
  • Service ceiling: 18,690 ft (5,698 m)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Bell 407". Jane's All the World's Aircraft. Couldson, Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2010. subscription article, posted September 13, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Frawley, Gerard. The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004, p. 47. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Bell launches Model 407". Flight International, February 8, 1995.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Bell 407". Jane's Helicopter Markets and Systems. Couldson, Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group, 2010. subscription article, posted April 13, 2010.
  5. "Bell Helicopter 407". Flug Revue, March 19, 2001.
  6. "Dod Announces Non-Certification Of Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Program". Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  7. "Bell 417 achieves first flight". October 2006. p. 12. 
  8. "Bell Helicopter Unveils New Bell 417". Archived from the original on 24 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  9. "Bell Scraps Year-Old 417, Finding No Market". Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Bell Helicopter Introduces Increased Mission Capability with the Bell 407GT". Bell Helicopter, March 4, 2013.
  11. "BAE’s APKWS rockets integrated on Bell’s new Model 407GT"., March 5, 2013.
  12. "History of the Bell Helicopter 407 ". Bell Helicopter.
  13. "Polar First Sets World Record", Rotorbreeze Magazine, July 2007.
  14. "Bell 407s Ordered for Iraq". Air International, April 2009, Vol 76, No. 4. p. 7.
  15. "Bell Helicopter Sells 24 Model 407 Helicopters Destined for Iraqi Air Force". Bell Helicopter, April 29, 2009.
  16. "Huntsville Times", pp. A1, A10. November 29, 2009. online version.
  17. Army makes final delivery of IA-407s to the Iraqis -, 21 May 2013
  18. "More For The Iraq Army Air Corps"., January 29, 2013.
  19. IS downs another Iraqi helicopter -, 8 October 2014
  20. "Honeywell Announces HTS900 Engine Upgrade For Bell 407 Operators". Honeywell, February 21, 2010.
  21. Thurber, Matt. "Eagle 407 soars with Honeywell engine"., February 21, 2010.
  22. Trimble, Stephen. "Northrop offers Fire-X concept for unmanned resupply"., May 4, 2010.
  23. Warwick, Graham."Northrop, Bell Power Up Unmanned Fire-X". Aviation Week, September 30, 2010.
  24. "Fire-X Vertical Unmanned Aircraft System" video. Northrop Grumman media via Retrieved: 11 October 2010.
  26. Warwick, Graham. "U.S. Navy Wants Larger Fire Scout Airframe". Aviation Week, February 17, 2011.
  27. Trimble, Stephen. "Bell Helicopter unveils first certified armed 407s" Flight International, March 8, 2011.
  28. Pope, Stephen. [1] Flying Magazine, June 9, 2011.
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Bell 407 Seven-Seat Light Helicopter". Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  31. "U.S. makes sixth delivery of combat helicopters to Iraq". January 17, 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  32. "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal Insight.;_ylu=X3oDMTE1dmxiY2luBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA3NrMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDAyNl8xMDc-/SIG=13iba327p/EXP=1359005176/**http%3a// Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  33. "Product Specifications: Bell 407". Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 

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