Adding to a string of recent regional firsts, the Bell 407GX has entered service with its first operator based in Switzerland. The handover comes shortly after the first Bell 429 took flight as part of a UK-based fleet with National Grid, as well as the first 429 in VIP configuration with TJ Morris Ltd.
National Grid 429. Photos courtesy of Bell Helicopters
Inspection and maintenance of power lines is the primary role of the National Grid 429. Bell’s European headquarters in Spain added EASA-certified equipment to the helicopter, including an operator workstation with SkyQuest 20-inch display, L-3 Wescam MX-10 control unit and Nano Flash recorder.
Interior of the National Grid Bell 429.
Bell gave the VIP 429 keys to TJ Morris during a September 21 ceremony that marked the opening of a new complex for Heli-Charter, the manufacturer’s Independent Representative and Customer Service Facility in the UK. Next on the docket is a 429 delivery to Starspeed, a helicopter management company that will use the VIP aircraft for a private operator, as well as corporate charter flights.
Alpinlift Helikopter will deploy the 407GX to utility missions in Switzerland. Sascha Kempf, Alpinlift managing director, noted the safety features of the 407GX, including the Garmin G1000H avionics and synthetic vision, as part of the reason for purchasing the Bell variant.
Related: Airframe News