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Bell 429 GlobalRanger
A Bell 429 in 2013
Role Multipurpose utility helicopter
National origin United States/Canada
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
First flight February 27, 2007[1]
Introduction 2009
Status In service
Primary users Royal Australian Navy
Fairfax County Police Department
Delaware State Police
Produced 2007-present
Unit cost
US$7.5 million (basic configuration, 2014)[citation needed]
Developed from Bell 427

The Bell 429 GlobalRanger is a light, twin-engine helicopter developed by Bell Helicopter and Korea Aerospace Industries, based on the Bell 427. First flight of the Bell 429 prototype took place on February 27, 2007,[2] and received type certification on July 1, 2009.[3] The Bell 429 is capable of single-pilot IFR and Runway Category A operations.[4]


The impetus for developing the Bell 429 came primarily from the emergency medical services (EMS) industry, which has been looking for an updated helicopter. The Bell 427 was originally intended to address this market, but the 427's small cabin size would not adequately accommodate a patient litter,[5] and the systems did not support instrument flight rules (IFR) certification. Bell's original concept for the 429 was a stretched model 427[6] (unveiled as the Bell 427s3i at the 2004 HAI helicopter show), but this still did not provide what Bell and its customer advisers were looking for.[7]

Bell 429 cockpit

Bell abandoned the 427 airframe and went to its MAPL (Modular Affordable Product Line) concept airframe[6] that was still in conceptual development at the time. The 429 employs the all-new modular airframe concept and the advanced rotor blade design from the MAPL program, but maintains a derivative engine and rotor drive system from the 427.[citation needed] The basic model includes a glass cockpit and is certified for single pilot IFR. Bell partnered with Korea Aerospace Industries and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace of Japan in the helicopter's development.[8]

Bell had flown most of the critical MAPL technology components using a 427 test bed aircraft by February 2006. The first completed 429 flew February 27, 2007.[1] Certification was originally planned for late 2007, but program schedule delays, primarily caused by parts and material shortages common to all aviation manufacturers in that time period, caused the manufacturer to stretch the development timetable.[2] In October 2007 the external configuration was set. In February 2008, Bell had three 429s in flight testing that had completed 600 hours.[9]

Bell 429 at the Singapore Air Show 2010

The helicopter received type certification from Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) on July 1, 2009,[3] and from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by July 7, 2009.[10] EASA certification was announced at Helitech on September 24, 2009.[11] FAA and EASA disagreed with TCCA's weight exemption allowing the 429 to operate for the Canadian Coast Guard.[12]

As of June 2009, the Bell 429 had received over 301 orders.[13] The launch customer for the Bell 429 is Air Methods Corporation, the largest medevac provider in the United States. On July 7, 2009, the first customer aircraft (s/n 57006) was delivered to Air Methods (owner) and Mercy One (operator) at Bell's facility in Mirabel, Quebec.[14][15]

The 429 conducted its high altitude certification testing at Leadville, Colorado and its high temperature certification at Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Further testing is also underway to establish maximum speeds (Vne) and climb rates (Vy) for operation with various door configurations (fixed, sliding, pilot, passenger, doors off).[citation needed]


The Bell 429 has a 4-blade rotor system with soft-in-plane flex beams. The rotor blades are composite and have swept tips for reduced noise. The tail rotor is made by stacking two, two-blade rotors set at uneven intervals (to form an X) for reduced noise.[2] The combined cabin volume is 204 ft³ (5.78 m³) with a 130 ft³ passenger cabin and 74 ft³ baggage area,[5] with flat floor for patient loading. A set of rear clamshell doors under tail boom is optional for easier patient loading.

The 429 has glass cockpit with 3-axis autopilot and flight director standard. Standard landing gear are skids. A retractable wheel landing gear is optional and adds 5 kt to cruising speed.[3] The helicopter is a single-pilot IFR Category A helicopter. It is capable of operating with one engine inoperative. The main transmission is rated for 5,000 hours between overhauls and the tail-rotor gearbox is rated for 3,200 hours.[5]


A Royal Australian Navy Bell 429

Bell 429 of the Slovak police

  • Ministry of Interior (2 on order)[19]
  • General Directorate of Security[20]
United States
  • Delaware State Police [21]
  • Fairfax County Police Department [22]
  • Texas A&M University[23]
  • New York City Police Department [24]
 United Kingdom
  • Wiltshire Air Ambulance[25]

Specifications (Bell 429)

Cabin of a medical evacuation Bell 429

Data from Bell 429 brochure,[26] Bell Helicopter 429 product specifications,[27] Flug Revue Bell 429 page,[28] Aviation Week[5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 7 passengers (six in passenger compartment; one beside pilot)[5]
  • Length: 41 ft 8 in (12.7 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 36 ft (10.97 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)
  • Empty weight: 4,245 lb (1,925 kg)
  • Useful load: 2,755 lb (1,250 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 7,000 lb (3,175 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D1 turboshaft, 625 shp (466 kW); 730 shp (545 kW) takeoff power[5] each
  • Cabin volume: 204 ft³ (5.8 m³)


  • Never exceed speed: 155 kn[5] (178 mph, 287 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 150 knots (172.5 mph, 273 km/h)
  • Range: 390 nmi (449 mi, 722 km)
  • Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,096 m)

See also

  • Bell 427


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bell 429 newsletter. Bell, March 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Bell Flies 429, Stretches Program". Rotor & Wing, April 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Bell 429 Achieves Certification". Bell Helicopter, July 1, 2009.
  4. Transport Canada Type Certificate Search
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 "Light Twin, Big Cabin", Aviation Week & Space Technology 170, 26 (June 29, 2009), p. 42.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Croft, John. "Bell Canada: composites not a grey area". Flight International, June 12, 2009.
  7. AW & ST: "... but the cabin was not big enough to attract operators, particularly the emergency medical service industry."
  8. [1][dead link]
  9. "Bell Provides 429 Program Update". Bell Helicopter, February 22, 2008.
  10. "FAA, TC Certify Bell 429". Rotor & Wing, July 7, 2009.
  11. "Helitech 2009: Bell 429 achieves EASA Certification". Rotorhub, September 24, 2009.
  12. Stephens, Ernie. "Docs Show FAA Was Angry Over Bell's Weight Exemption" Rotor & Wing, June 3, 2014. Accessed: June 8, 2014. Archived on June 8, 2014.
  13. Croft, John. "Bell: certification imminent for Bell 429 rotor rocket". Flight Daily News, June 15, 2009.
  14. New model certified. Montreal Gazette, July 8, 2009.
  15. Bell Presents 429 To Its First Customer. Textron website, July 16, 2009.
  16. "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal Insight. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  17. "Raytheon to provide Bell 429s for interim RAN aircrew training". September 19, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  18. "Bell 429 selected for Canadian Coast Guard". Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  19. "Slovensko-ukrajinskú hranicu bude monitorovať americký vrtuľník". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  21. "State Police add 2 Helicopters to fleet". Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  22. "Bell Helicopter Delivers Model 429 To Fairfax County Police Department". Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  23. "Bell Helicopter 429 "Swaggercopter"". Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  24. "New York Police Department Aviation Division". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  26. Bell 429 brochure. Bell Helicopter.
  27. Bell 429 product specs. Bell Helicopter
  28. Bell 429 page. Flug Revue.

External links

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