16/12/2010 BELL 412EP HELICOPTER TO BE UPGRADED

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Bell Helicopter company, has announced its plan to extend the capability and performance of the widely respected Bell 412EP helicopter, which will be available to customers in 2012.

A Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) project that will extend the wide range of missions that can be performed by the 412EP is currently underway. This STC consists primarily of an engine and cockpit upgrade and will be available in 3-axis and 4-axis options.

"Upgrading the capabilities of the 412EP is part of Bell Helicopter's overall focus to revitalize the products and support we provide to our commercial customers. It is one more example of our commitment to providing the mission solutions needed by our customers," said Larry Roberts, Senior Vice President, Commercial Business for Bell Helicopter. "The Bell 412EP is the most versatile and reliable aircraft in its class - appropriately known as the 'workhorse of its class'. The 412EP's increase engine power and a modern avionics suite will accommodate a wide range of mission applications. Our customers told us what they need and we are delivering," said Roberts. The engine upgrade, in partnership with Pratt & Whitney Inc., provides a 15% engine SHP increase, improved OEI and Hot/High performance and introduction of Electronic Engine Control. The upgrade will yield a 10-12% increase in CAT A / PC1 & PC2 performance, increased hot / high capability and provides a path for a future upgrade for increased range and payload.

The cockpit upgrade will provide a modern 'Glass Cockpit' - leveraging the well received glass cockpit of the new Bell 429 by utilizing hardware common to that aircraft, specifically Display Units. This will provide commonality in the cockpits of Bell's light twin and medium twin aircraft, simplifying pilot familiarity and maintenance training.

"Leveraging features of the highly successful Bell 429 makes sense as we work to bring improved technology and capabilities as well as increased value to our commercial customers," said Roberts.

Other upgrades planned for the 412EP platform include a Tail Rotor Upgrade that eliminates the need for pre-flight visual inspection and a Communication System Upgrade that will be compatible with civil standard headsets, eliminating the need for military-style, low-impedance microphones and earpieces.

The first Block Upgrade to the 412EP is available now and consists of the BLR FastFin„¢ System. This is a cost effective performance enhancing modification for single rotor helicopters and when installed on the Bell 412EP, it will increase altitude performance providing more tail rotor effectiveness resulting in enhanced low speed and hover controllability.

The BLR FastFin„¢ System increases HOGE and HIGE performance limits and expands the lifting capacity of the 412EP, providing more tail rotor reserve authority, improving hover stability, high/hot performance, crosswind capabilities, and payload, while reducing pilot workload and lowering operating costs through fuel savings.

Earlier this year, Bell earned an STC for the FastFin„¢ System installation on the Bell 412EP, which has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through Bell Helicopter's Organization Designation Authorization and has been validated by Transport Canada. The STC includes a Flight Manual Supplement that allows operators to take credit for the resulting performance improvements. Foreign validation in other jurisdictions will be in place early in 2011.