...Plus Model 427i Launch Customer

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Air Methods Corporation will be the launch customer for Bell Helicopter's new Model 427i twin-engine helicopters, the manufacturer announced this week. Fifteen of the new 427i aircraft are scheduled for delivery to the aeromedical operator, beginning in late 2007. The agreement between Bell and Air Methods provides for a minimum delivery of three aircraft per year. Bell Chief Executive Officer Mike Redenbaugh said, "The 427i is an aircraft that will have tremendous performance capability. To have it operated by the largest provider of air medical transport services for hospitals in the business is a testimony to the acceptance the 427i has already received in the marketplace." Added Aaron Todd, Chief Executive Officer of Air Methods Corporation, "We believe that the Bell 427i aircraft will offer an attractive option for our current Bell 222 customers that require two-patient, cabin-class capability, while maintaining cost sensitivity." The sales agreement gives Air Methods, as the launch customer, a trade-in option for up to 15 of its 22 Bell 222 helicopters currently operated. The Bell Model 427i is expected to receive FAA certification during the fourth quarter of 2006, with initial deliveries expected during the final quarter of 2007.