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Bell Unveils New Light Helicopter

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Bell Helicopter introduced a new five-seat, entry-level helicopter at the Paris Air Show this week. The aircraft was developed to meet performance targets set by an advisory council of customers who will operate the aircraft for utility, training, private use, and law enforcement. "The SLS [short light single] class is both extremely competitive and price sensitive, so we collaborated with customers to incorporate their mission needs in a high-performance, high-value helicopter at a very competitive price," said John Garrison, Bell CEO. The helicopter will feature a high-visibility cabin with large cabin doors, a flat floor, and five forward-facing seats. It will cruise at 125 knots for up to about 360 nm and carry a useful load up to 1,500 pounds, the company said.

The new aircraft will be powered by the Turbomeca Arrius 2R FADEC engine. Avionics have not yet been specified. It is expected to fly for the first time next year and will be "priced to compete," the company said.

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