FORT WORTH, TEXAS (January 21, 2014) – Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT), announced that Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust (WAACT) will become the second operator in the UK to add a Bell 429 to their fleet for helicopter air ambulance (HAA) operations. The agreement, signed with Bell’s independent representative Heli-Charter Ltd., further solidifies Bell Helicopter’s growing momentum in the European market. Wiltshire’s Bell 429 will be configured for HAA and outfitted with the most recent Aerolite equipment to meet the highest helicopter air ambulance specifications. It is the second HAA-configured Bell 429 announced in the U.K. after Bell Helicopter reached an agreement with Heli-Charter Ltd. in September 2013.
“Customers throughout Europe are discovering the Bell 429 is the premiere light twin solution for a number of needs,” said Patrick Moulay, Bell Helicopter’s managing director of commercial sales for Europe. “We have a long heritage serving air ambulance customers throughout the world and are proud to be able to support the entire Wiltshire community.”
The new standard in the light twin-engine helicopter air ambulance segment, the Bell 429 features class-leading speed for quick response times and a state-of-the-art flight deck for maximized situational awareness. In addition to its performance, the 429 delivers comfort and cost management unmatched by any other aircraft in its category.
“We have taken this opportunity to significantly improve the quality of the service with a state-of-the-art piece of equipment at a very competitive cost,” said WAACT Chairman Richard Youens. “Furthermore the new aircraft will be maintained on a rolling basis whereas the previous helicopter had to be taken off line for six weeks or more every year, better positioning us to serve more people year around.”
The Bell 429 has a top speed of 150 knots and a range of 400 miles making rapid response to any incident within the county achievable within minutes. Capable of carrying one or two pilots, two or three paramedics as well as a patient on a stretcher, the 429 features a spacious 5.78 m³ cabin with a flat floor, wide 157 cm side doors and optional rear clam-shell doors to provide quick, easy access for patient loading and unloading. The Bell 429 is also equipped with a fully-integrated glass cockpit, advanced drive system and best-in-class WAAS navigation and IFR capability, offering air medical operators exceptional flight performance.