By Staff Writer | July 1, 2008
Bell Helicopter brought its newest aircraft, the Model 429, to Air Med 2008 in Prague, the Czech Republic.
At that major emergency medical services gathering in May, the manufacturer got many "gifts," as Bell CEO Dick Millman calls comments, complaints and other input from customers. "We spent literally hundreds of hours talking with our EMS customers," said Sandy Kinkade, Bell’s EMS market segment director and a former flight nurse, "asking what features they would like to see in a helicopter." As a result, Bell is further refining the 429 cabin design and configuration options to incorporate changes in the aircraft it plans to display at Farnborough. The 429 has accumulated over 900 hr of flight testing. Certification is expected late this year or in early 2009.
Air Methods’ Products Div was to receive a Bell 429 airframe last month and begin detailed design of the EMS interior systems and define the integration to the airframe. The company anticipates the first production, type-certified aircraft to arrive in December 2008 and enter the completion cycle.
The Air Methods Bell 429 EMS interior has been designed in a modular fashion to allow customers flexibility in selecting options for systems and equipment, configurations of medical panels, pressurized or liquid medical oxygen and attendant seating.