Heli-Expo Underway In Dallas
A clean-sheet design from Bell Helicopter is the highlight announcement so far at Heli-Expo in Dallas. The annual show got under way in Dallas on Saturday and on Sunday Bell unveiled the mockup of its much-anticipated 525 Relentless, a 16-passenger aircraft the company hopes will define the "super medium" category. As with business jets, bigger is generally selling better on the helicopter side and the Relentless will top out at about 18,000 pounds with a 400 mile range and a Garmin 500H panel. First flight is expected in 2014. Not all the success is in the big aircraft, though and Robinson Helicopters had plenty to talk about.
Robinson's R66 turbine is selling well and the company is considering boosting production from four a week to as many as eight. Robinson's current backlog is 640 helicopters across its product line. The show continues through Tuesday and in terms of the number of delegates and aircraft on display is among the largest on the show calendar.