Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, will expand its completion and customer delivery facilities located in Piney Flats, Tenn. This announcement represents a $10.1 million investment by Bell Helicopter and was achieved through collaboration with the State of Tennessee and Sullivan County. The expansion is anticipated to create up to 125 jobs.
"We continue to see a growing demand for commercial helicopters, and Bell Helicopter's anticipated production requirements are outpacing the size of our current facility in Piney Flats," said Eric Cardinali, executive vice president, Customer Support and Services for Bell Helicopter. "Expanding our existing facility allows us to implement new technologies and processes to ensure a high quality customization and delivery process for our customers."
The expansion includes the purchase of a 150,000 sq. ft. building located just west of the Bell Helicopter Piney Flats facility. The new building will accommodate customizing and completions of light and medium aircraft, and will also house supporting back shops and shipping and receiving operations.
"We are pleased to work with Sullivan County and the state of Tennessee on this project," said Cardinali. "The quick response from both the county and the state helped solidify our decision to expand in Piney Flats."
"Our Jobs4TN strategy makes expanding businesses in Tennessee a priority in our efforts to grow jobs, and I want to congratulate Bell Helicopter on the news of their additional investment in Piney Flats," said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. "We are thankful to have strong companies like Bell Helicopter continuing to grow in our state."
"I am pleased to be a part of this announcement today and to share the news that Bell Helicopter is bringing more jobs to the state of Tennessee," said Bill Hagerty, Economic and Community Development Commissioner. "Helping Tennessee businesses expand right here in our state has been a core focus of recruitment and announcements like this one indicate the effectiveness of our economic development strategy. This is another high-profile example of business expansion in Tennessee even as the broader economy remains challenged."
Bell Helicopter announces that Instituto Nacional de Aeronáutica Civil (INAC) has validated the Bell 429 to operate in Venezuela. Additionally INAC has endorsed the operation of the Bell 429 at 3402 kg (7,500 lbs.). This approval, based on Transport Canada's certification, makes Venezuela the thirteenth country to endorse the increased maximum gross weight for the Bell 429. The additional 227 kg (500 lbs.) of fuel and/or payload allows operators to take advantage of the aircraft's full capabilities.
"Venezuela's validation is an important milestone for the Bell 429. We're excited to offer customers in Venezuela a superior product that can meet their challenging mission demands," said Danny Maldonado, Bell Helicopter's executive vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. "From the Caribbean coast line to the Amazon Basin and across the Andes Mountains, the performance boost of the increased gross weight will allow customers to fully utilize the capabilities of the Bell 429 to carry more fuel and vital equipment."
Transport Canada approved operation of the Bell 429 at 3402 kg (7,500 lbs.) in December 2011 after conducting an extensive technical evaluation. The increased gross weight of the Bell 429 will allow customers to take full advantage of the aircraft's capabilities, and operate longer and heavier missions. To date, The Bell 429 increased gross weight has been approved by Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnam.
The Bell 429 is one of the most advanced light twin helicopters ever developed. It delivers exceptional speed, range and hover performance, and offers operators a state-of-the-art single pilot IFR helicopter with top user-rated in-service support. The powerful and reliable Bell 429 serves the full spectrum of segments including air medical, law enforcement, oil & gas, utility, and corporate. The Bell 429 sets the standard for light twins, delivering exceptional speed, range and hover performance.
The Bell 429 is certified for Single or Dual Pilot IFR, Cat. A/JAROPS Performance Class 1 at maximum gross weight; has a state of the art fully-integrated glass cockpit; an advanced drive system that delivers power and superb performance; best in class WAAS navigation & IFR capability; and is the first helicopter certified through the MSG-3 process resulting in reduced maintenance costs for operators. The increased gross weight configuration includes Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System (HTAWS), a radar altimeter, cockpit voice/flight data recorder and forward flashing lights.
Bell Helicopter has signed an agreement with the Republic of Turkey Undersecretariat for Defence Industries for the supply of five Bell 429 aircraft. The Bell 429s will be operated by the Turkish General Directorate of Forestry (TGDF) to protect forest resources and coordinate firefighting operations.
"The decision to purchase Bell 429s for our mission was driven by the requirement for a fast, reliable and technologically-advanced helicopter. These aircraft will be performing challenging tasks, including firefighting operations, in demanding environments; the enhanced safety margins and exceptional speed of the 429 are critical advantages for the TGDF operations," said Murad Bayar, the Undersecretary of Defence Industries for Turkey.
The TGDF will utilize the Bell 429s to survey and safeguard their woodland resources, comprising 27% of the surface area in Turkey. Upon delivery in early 2014, the new Bell 429s will replace TGDF's existing fleet of helicopters.
"Delivering customer value is the focus of Bell Helicopter and our partnership with the Turkish General Directorate of Forestry is yet another example," said Danny Maldonado, Bell Helicopter's executive vice president of Sales and Marketing. "We are honored with TGDF's endorsement of the Bell 429 for their multi-mission needs. This is an important milestone for the 429 and for Bell Helicopter in our mission to provide quality products and support to the European and Asian continents alike."
The TGDF agreement follows the announcement of a contract with Bell Helicopter and the Turkish National Police (TNP) for the purchase of 15 Bell 429s. These aircraft, scheduled for delivery in August 2013, will carry out a variety of law enforcement missions from surveillance to air support of ground operations.
"Bell Helicopter is providing superb aircraft and support that meet the needs of parapublic operators in Turkey and beyond," said Patrick Moulay, Bell Helicopter managing director for Europe. "Authorities in this region need aircraft capable of performing missions from coastal to high elevation environments and we are dedicated to meeting those requirements."
TGDF is part of the Republic of Turkey's Ministry of Environment and Forest. Their mission is to protect forest resources against any threats or danger, to enhance forest resources in an eco-friendly manner and to achieve sustainable forest management that benefits society while maintaining ecosystem integrity.
The Bell 429 is the world's newest and most advanced light twin-engine helicopter. It has conducted extensive flight demonstrations in every continent, except Antarctica, and has been certified in more than 40 countries. With configuration options ranging from VIP to air-medical, law enforcement, utility and oil & gas, the Bell 429 offers superior mission capability and adaptability.
About Bell Helicopter
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.
About Textron Inc.
Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems.