Bell Helicopter, September 23, 2013 - Kent, England - Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced today a signed agreement with Heli-Charter Ltd for the first Bell 429 configured for Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) operations in the United Kingdom.
The recently appointed Bell Helicopter Customer Support Facility and Independent Representative held the grand opening of its new facility adjacent to Manston International Airport in Kent on September 21.
"This agreement is a prime example of how the Bell 429 is setting the standard for the Helicopter Air Ambulance segment in Europe," said Patrick Moulay, Bell Helicopter's managing director in Europe. "We are very proud to be part of the life-saving operations performed by the dedicated men and women in this field."
At the grand opening ceremony, Heli-Charter signed a purchase agreement with Bell Helicopter for the first HAA-configured Bell 429 in the UK. Heli-Charter will work closely with UK Air Ambulance Trusts, operators and service providers to provide rapid deployment of medical teams and fast, efficient patient transport with the Bell 429.
It was also announced at the opening ceremony that Heli-Charter has been appointed as a Bell Helicopter-authorized Customer Support Facility (CSF). Heli-Charter holds European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) maintenance approval for Bell 206 field maintenance and component overhaul, and is the only facility in the United Kingdom approved by EASA to perform Bell 429 field maintenance.
"The addition of Heli-Charter to our CSF network strengthens our ability to offer our regional customers a Bell Helicopter-approved support solution. As Bell Helicopter continues to expand its commercial customer base in Europe, we will also work to ensure they have access to the aftermarket service and support offerings that differentiate Bell Helicopter in the market," said Eric Cardinali, executive vice president, Customer Support and Services.
Bell Helicopter authorized CSFs must meet rigorous requirements, including maintaining a staff of specially-trained mechanics, maintaining insurance to cover customers' aircraft, retaining tooling and inventory requirements necessary to meet customers' needs and all necessary approvals by their local regulatory authority.
One of the most advanced light twin helicopters ever developed, the Bell 429 delivers exceptional speed, range and hover performance, as well as comfort and cost management unmatched by any other aircraft in its category. Equipped with a fully-integrated glass cockpit, advanced drive system and best-in-class WAAS navigation and IFR capability, the Bell 429 offers air medical operators exceptional flight performance. Additional safety features include a collective mounted throttle, damage tolerant hub and rotor system, and energy attenuating seats. A spacious cabin with a flat floor, wide 157 cm (62 in.) side doors and optional rear clam-shell doors provide quick, easy access for patient loading and unloading.
Established more than twenty years ago, Heli-Charter provides a wide range of services, including operation of a fleet of helicopters, aircraft sales, maintenance and component overhaul. Heli-Charter was appointed as a Bell Helicopter Independent Representative in July 2012.
About Bell Helicopter: Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.