Bell 429 GlobalRanger

Bell 429 GlobalRanger
A Bell 429 in 2013
Role Multipurpose utility helicopter
National origin United States/Canada
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
First flight February 27, 2007[1]
Introduction 2009
Status In service
Primary users Canadian Coast Guard
Royal Australian Navy
Swedish National Police
Delaware State Police
Produced 2007–present
Unit cost
US$7.5 million (basic configuration, 2014)[2]
Developed from Bell 427

The Bell 429 GlobalRanger is a light, twin-engine helicopter developed by Bell Helicopter and Korea Aerospace Industries, based on the Bell 427. First flight of the Bell 429 prototype took place on February 27, 2007,[3] and the aircraft received type certification on July 1, 2009.[4] The Bell 429 is capable of single-pilot IFR and Runway Category A operations.[5]


The impetus for developing the Bell 429 came primarily from the emergency medical services (EMS) industry, which was looking for an updated helicopter. The Bell 427 was originally intended to address this market, but the 427's small cabin size would not adequately accommodate a patient litter,[6] and the systems did not support instrument flight rules (IFR) certification. Bell's original concept for the 429 was a stretched model 427[7] (unveiled as the Bell 427s3i at the 2004 HAI helicopter show), but this still did not provide what Bell and its customer advisers were looking for.[8]

Bell 429 cockpit

Bell abandoned the 427 airframe and went to its MAPL (Modular Affordable Product Line) concept airframe[7] that was still in conceptual development at the time. The 429 employs the all-new modular airframe concept and the advanced rotor blade design from the MAPL program, but maintains a derivative engine and rotor drive system from the 427.[9] The basic model includes a glass cockpit and is certified for single pilot IFR. Bell partnered with Korea Aerospace Industries and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace of Japan in the helicopter's development.[10]

Bell had flown most of the critical MAPL technology components using a 427 test bed aircraft by February 2006. The first completed 429 flew February 27, 2007.[1] Certification was originally planned for late 2007, but program schedule delays, primarily caused by parts and material shortages common to all aviation manufacturers in that time period, caused the manufacturer to stretch the development timetable.[3] In October 2007 the external configuration was set. In February 2008, Bell had three 429s in flight testing that had completed 600 flight hours.[11] The 429 conducted its high altitude testing in Colorado and its high temperature testing in Arizona.[12]

Bell 429 at the Singapore Air Show 2010

The helicopter received type certification from Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) on July 1, 2009,[4] and from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by July 7, 2009.[13] EASA certification was announced at Helitech on September 24, 2009.[14] TCCA and authorities in some other countries later approved an increased weight exemption for the aircraft.[15] However, FAA and EASA disagreed with the weight exemption, which had allowed the 429 to operate for the Canadian Coast Guard.[16]

As of June 2009, the Bell 429 had received over 301 orders.[17] The launch customer for the Bell 429 was Air Methods Corporation, the largest medevac provider in the United States. On July 7, 2009, the first customer aircraft (s/n 57006) was delivered to Air Methods (owner) and Mercy One (operator) at Bell's facility in Mirabel, Quebec.[18][19]


The Bell 429 has a 4-blade rotor system with soft-in-plane flex beams. The rotor blades are composite and have swept tips for reduced noise. The tail rotor is made by stacking two, two-blade rotors set at uneven intervals (to form an X) for reduced noise.[3] The combined cabin volume is 204 ft³ (5.78 m³) with a 130 ft³ passenger cabin and 74 ft³ baggage area,[6] with a flat floor for patient loading. A set of rear clamshell doors under the tail boom is optional for easier patient loading in EMS operations.

The 429 has a glass cockpit with a 3-axis autopilot (optional 4th axis kit) and flight director standard.[20] Standard landing gear are skids. A retractable wheel landing gear is optional and adds 5 kt to cruising speed.[4] The helicopter is a single-pilot IFR Category A helicopter. It is capable of operating with one engine inoperative. The main transmission is rated for 5,000 hours between overhauls and the tail rotor gearbox is rated for 3,200 hours.[6]


A Royal Australian Navy Bell 429
Bell 429 of the Slovak police
 United States
 United Kingdom

Ministry of Health Air Ambulance [34]

Specifications (Bell 429)

Cabin of a medical evacuation Bell 429

Data from Bell 429 brochure,[35] Bell Helicopter 429 product specifications,[36] Flug Revue Bell 429 page,[37] Aviation Week[6]

General characteristics


See also

Related development


  1. 1 2 Bell 429 newsletter. Bell, March 2007.
  2. Inferred from a quote for a fully equipped Bell 429.
  3. 1 2 3 "Bell Flies 429, Stretches Program". Rotor & Wing, April 2007.
  4. 1 2 3 "Bell 429 Achieves Certification". Bell Helicopter, July 1, 2009.
  5. Transport Canada Type Certificate Search
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Light Twin, Big Cabin", Aviation Week & Space Technology 170, 26 (June 29, 2009), p. 42.
  7. 1 2 Croft, John. "Bell Canada: composites not a grey area". Flight International, June 12, 2009.
  8. AW&ST: "... but the cabin was not big enough to attract operators, particularly the emergency medical service industry."
  9. Trimble, Stephen (22 October 2012). "429 GlobalRanger teaches Bell new lessons in design". Washington DC: Flightglobal. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  10. "Bell Provides 429 Program Update". Bell Helicopter, February 22, 2008.
  11. "Textron Inc - Textron's Bell Completes Major Milestone in the 429 Development". Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  12. "FAA, TC Certify Bell 429". Rotor & Wing, July 7, 2009.
  13. "Helitech 2009: Bell 429 achieves EASA Certification". Rotorhub, September 24, 2009.
  14. "Bell Still Seeking FAA Weight Exemption for 429". Rotor & Wing Magazine. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  15. Stephens, Ernie. "Docs Show FAA Was Angry Over Bell's Weight Exemption" Rotor & Wing, June 3, 2014. Accessed: June 8, 2014. Archived on June 8, 2014.
  16. Croft, John. "Bell: certification imminent for Bell 429 rotor rocket". Flight Daily News, June 15, 2009.
  17. New model certified. Montreal Gazette, July 8, 2009.
  18. Bell Presents 429 To Its First Customer. Textron website, July 16, 2009.
  19. "Bell Helicopter's Bell 429 | Business Jet Traveler". Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  20. "World Air Forces 2013" (PDF). Flightglobal Insight. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  21. "Raytheon to provide Bell 429s for interim RAN aircrew training". Australian Aviation. September 19, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  22. "Canadian Coast Guard Accepts New Light-Lift Helicopter in Shearwater, Nova Scotia". Government of Canada. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  23. "Bell 429 selected for Canadian Coast Guard". Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  24. "VIDEO: Ministerstvo vnútra má k dispozícii nový vrtuľník Bell 429". TASR. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  25. "Polisen sätter nya helikoptrar i arbete"
  27. "State Police add 2 Helicopters to fleet". Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  28. "Bell Helicopter Delivers Model 429 To Fairfax County Police Department". Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  29. "Bell Helicopter 429 "Swaggercopter"". Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  30. "New York Police Department Aviation Division". Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  34. Bell 429 brochure. Bell Helicopter.
  35. Bell 429 product specs. Bell Helicopter
  36. Bell 429 page. Flug Revue.

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