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Monday June 18, 2007

Bell's 429 Continues Smooth Sailing in Flight Test Program

Paris Air Show, Paris, France ( Bell Helicopter Press Release ) - Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, stated its new 429 helicopter continues to make excellent progress towards certification in 2008.

"Bell's test pilots are very pleased with the handling qualities and stability of the aircraft." said Bill Stromberg, executive director, commercial product management, and head of the 429 program. Stromberg continued, "We plan on meeting or exceeding all performance goals for the helicopter. We anticipate being able to achieve certification on or before September 2008."

Milestones accomplished on the 429 program include: envelope expansion up to 20,000 feet; high gross weight configuration in both forward and aft CG (center of gravity) configuration is complete; achieved flight speeds of about 200 mph; strength and stability of the Modular Affordable Product Line (MAPL) landing gear demonstrated and certified; landing and take-off on slopes achieved and autorotation testing is under way.

Stromberg stated, "The second prototype aircraft has been turned over to Bell's Flight Test organization and will begin flying in July. Assembly of the first three production aircraft, which will also be used for certification flight testing, is progressing on schedule."

Bell Helicopter is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor 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.

Textron Inc. is a $10 billion multi-industry company operating in 33 countries with approximately 37,000 employees in continuing operations. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others.

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