Bell Preps Civil Huey For December First Flight
Bell Helicopter Textron said last month its latest civilian helicopter, the model 210, will be ready for its first flight next month, with FAA certification expected to follow in January. The Bell 210 is a civil certified version of the company's venerable UH-1H Huey, albeit with a few upgrades. For example, the 210 starts with a refurbished UH-1H fuselage and then adds main rotor hub and blades, tail rotor, main and tail rotor support structure, transmission, rotating controls, and tail boom from the Bell 212. A single FAA-certified Honeywell T5317B engine will power the 210. According to Bell, the combination of dynamic components and engine produces a zero-time airframe, FAA-certified single-engine light utility helicopter. Work on the 210 prototype is on schedule at Bell subsidiary Edwards & Associates. Cost of the Bell 210 will be approximately $3 million, according to Bell, which adds that a comparable Huey-sized, off-the-shelf commercial helicopter would cost approximately $5 million. The Bell 210 will have a useful load of around 5000 pounds, 640 pounds more than the UH-1H, and its direct operating costs will be about $530 an hour, considerably less than other aircraft in the same class. Bell is targeting the 210 at the non-military government market.