Bell 407GXi. Photo courtesy of Bell
The FAA has certified the Bell 407 GXi, which has seen its first delivery to Chilean-based Eagle Copters for corporate transportation purposes, Bell said Oct. 29.
The 407 GXi features an all-glass cockpit, improved pilot awareness, more precise navigation, enhanced engine controls and improved connectivity.
“This is an important milestone for the program, and Bell is proud to announce the first delivery since the introduction of the Bell 407GXi earlier this year," Susan Griffin, EVP of commercial business at Bell, said in a statement.
The company is also offering the 407GXi in its bid to replace the U.S. Navy's Bell TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopters, a buy to begin in 2020. Bell executives say that the 407GXi represents a best-value offer for the Navy, as the rotorcraft, like the TH-57, is based on the Bell 206 Jet Ranger, which also was the basis of the U.S. Army’s now-retired OH-58 Kiowa armed scout helicopter.
Airbus is pitching the twin-engine H135 helicopter as the U.S. Navy’s next trainer in a near-reprise of its offer of the H145 to the Army to replace its TH-67 Creek trainer, while Leonardo is offering its TH-119 single-engine helicopter, which the company is vaunting for its twin-engine-like performance.