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Tuesday December 21, 1999

Bell Helicopter Textron Enters the 21st Century With New Orders

FORT WORTH, Texas, USA ( Bell Helicopter Textron Press Release ) - Bell Helicopter Textron, which established the commercial helicopter industry in 1946 by building the world's first commercially certificated helicopter, the Bell 47, is finishing the century with a string of new orders and deliveries. Bell Chairman and CEO Terry Stinson noted, "this is certainly indicative of our strong product line and expanding customer base."

In the last two months Bell has received orders for 46 new helicopters while delivering 42 new aircraft. Aircraft models ordered or delivered since October 1st include the Bell 206B-3 JetRanger, 206L-4 LongRanger, 407, 412EP, 430, AH-1W SuperCobra and UH-1 "Huey II Kits." During this same time the company delivered the 401st Bell 407 produced since the 407 went into production three years ago. Bell customers acknowledge the overall value of the aircraft and the superior worldwide customer support as the prime reasons for selecting Bell products.

Bell reports that its highly acclaimed Bell 430 intermediate twin engine helicopter was today (Dec. 20, 1999) certificated by the FAA for Category A performance and Single-Pilot IFR flight.

Bell's commitment to the new light, twin-engine, Bell 427 is producing results as Transport Canada recently certified the model. There are 85 advance orders for the Bell 427, which will be delivered to customers beginning in early 2000. Bell Helicopter remains committed toward producing the most valuable and safest aircraft available for its customers.

Bell Helicopter Textron's commercial and civil government orders and deliveries span the globe. Lions Air Ltd. in Switzerland recently accepted a Bell 430, the first to be delivered to a customer in that nation.

Skyhopper, the first fractional ownership program in the U.K., recently added a Bell 430 to its fleet and has placed an order for a second Bell 430 to be delivered in 2000. Bell Helicopter continues to have a strong presence in the Latin American region as its market share is near 70%. Bell Helicopter Textron recently received orders from or delivered aircraft to civil government agencies across the Southern Hemisphere in Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela. Recent Latin American commercial customers are located in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Chile, and Guatemala.

Since October 1st, Bell Helicopter has delivered aircraft to numerous commercial customers throughout the United States and the Asia Pacific region. Reef Helicopters in Australia and the Japanese Maritime Safety Association recently took delivery of Bell 412EP medium twin engine helicopters.

The Bell Agusta 609 civil tiltrotor continues to be a bright spot on the horizon of commercial aviation as the initial three years of production are sold out. Customers are scheduled to begin receiving BA609s in 2002. The military version of this tiltrotor is under evaluation by the U.S. Coast Guard for search and rescue operations.

Looking to the military market, the U.S. Marine Corps recently took delivery of the Bell Boeing MV-22 Ship Number 13, which was the first Osprey to roll out of the new Bell tiltrotor production facility in Amarillo, Texas. By the end of 1999 the U.S. Marine Corps will have received four production aircraft and is scheduled to take possession of 5 more MV-22 Ospreys in 2000.

In a recent speech, U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen identified the MV-22 as "the revolution in military affairs" noting that it will carry Marines into operations around the world well into the 21st Century.

Bell Helicopter Textron's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the Bell Eagle Eye continues to be the recipient of strong reviews from potential U.S. Government customers.

In addition to U.S. military programs, Bell Helicopter Textron is providing aircraft and training to foreign military and paramilitary units around the world. Recent transactions include the Bulgarian Air Force, which received six Bell 206B-3s for a training program, the Finnish Frontier Guard, which purchased a Bell 412, the Royal Saudi Air Force, who purchased 16 Bell 412s, and the Colombian government which accepted delivery of eight UH-1 "Huey II" Upgrade Kits. Furthermore, Bell Helicopter Textron continues to deliver TH-67 and AH-1W helicopters to long-time customers in the Pacific Region.

The tremendous success of the last two months caps the 20th Century for Bell Helicopter Textron as the world's leading manufacturer of turbine powered helicopters. Bell Helicopter Textron will enter the new millennium with an orderbook valued at $2.65 Billion.

  • BA609 page
  • Bell timeline