Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Model 407
Archive Photos ¹
[2006 Bell 407 (N407DG, s/n 653697) on display (11/10/2007) at the Aviation Nation 2007 Airshow, Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, NV (Photo by John Shupek copyright © 2007 Skytamer Images]
The Bell 407 is a four-bladed, single engine, civil utility helicopter; a derivative of the Bell 206L-3 “LongRanger”. The 407 uses the four-bladed, soft, in-plane, rigid rotor with composite hub that was developed for the United States Army's Bell OH-58D “Kiowa Warrior” instead of the two-bladed, semi-rigid rotor of the 206L-3. The Bell 407 is frequently used for corporate and offshore transport, as an air ambulance, law enforcement, electronic news gathering and movie making.
In 1993, Bell began the development of the New Light Aircraft as a replacement for its Model 206 series. The program resulted in the 407, a development of Bell's “LongRanger”. A 206L-3 “LongRanger” was modified as the concept demonstrator for the 407. The two-bladed rotor was replaced with the four-bladed main rotor developed for the OH-58 (Model 406). The OH-58D tail rotor was also used, and transparent molded fairings were attached to show the wider fuselage under development.
The demonstrator was first flown on 21 April 1994, and the 407 program was publicly announced at the Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 1995. The first of two (C-GFOS) 407 prototypes accomplished its first flight on 29 June 1995, and the second prototype (C-FORS) followed on 13 July 1995. Following a short development program, the first production 407 (C-FWQY/N407BT) flew on 10 November 1995.
The Bell 407 features the four blade main rotor developed for the OH-58 (Model 406). The blades and hub use composite construction, have no life limits, and provide improved performance and better ride comfort. The 407 is also 8 in (18 cm) wider, increasing internal cabin width and space, and features 35% larger main cabin windows. The more powerful Rolls-Royce (Allison) 250-C47 turboshaft allows an increase in max takeoff weight and improves performance at hotter temperatures and/or higher altitudes.
In 1995, Bell studied fitting the 407 with a shrouded tail rotor, but did not proceed. For a time, Bell studied developing the Model 407T twin, but instead chose to develop the essentially all new twin PW206D powered Bell 427.
ARH-70/Bell 417: The canceled ARH-70 armed reconnaissance helicopter, developed for the U.S. Army was based on the 407.
The Bell 417 was a growth variant of the Bell 407, in essence a civil version of the ARH-70 armed reconnaissance helicopter for the US Army. The 417 made its first flight on June 8, 2006. The 417 was to be powered by a Honeywell HTS900 turboshaft engine, producing 970 shp (720 kW) and includes full FADEC controls. The cabin will seat 5 passengers in club-seating configuration, in addition to the crew of two. The civilian 417 was canceled at Heli-Expo 2007 in Orlando, and the ARH-70 was canceled on 16 October 2008.
Operational History ²
The 407 was certificated by Transport Canada on 9 February 1996, with the FAA following shortly after on 23 February. Bell made delivery of the first production 407 that same month at Heli-Expo, in Dallas, Texas. Launch customers for the aircraft were Petroleum Helicopters, Niagara Helicopters, and Greenland Air. Production at Bell's Mirabel, Quebec, Canada plant quickly reached 140 airframes per year in 1997, to fill the initial orders.
On 23 May 2007, Colin Bodill and Jennifer Murray completed a record pole-to-pole around the world flight utilizing a standard Bell 407. The flight originated from Bell's facility at the Fort Worth Alliance Airport on December 5, 2006. The team flew about 36,000 miles (57,900 km) over 189 days and 300 flight hours, through 34 different countries. The project, named “Polar First”, was performed in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society to provide educational outreach to 28 international schools, which were visited during the trip. The project also served as a fund raiser for the SOS Children's Villages.
Specifications (Bell 407) ²
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