Bell has tried several incarnations of a twin version of its successful Bell 206 series, including the stillborn Bell 400 and 440 of the mid 1980s, and the limited production Bell 206LT TwinRanger of the early 1990s.
Bell's original concept for a replacement for the 206LT TwinRanger was the Bell 407T, a relatively straightforward twin engine development of the Bell 407 with two Allison 250-C22B engines. However, Bell concluded that the payload/range performance of the 407T would not be sufficient, and so began development of a new light twin, in partnership with South Korea's Samsung Aerospace Industries. In February 1996, Bell announced the Model 427 at the Heli Expo in Dallas.
The Bell 427 first flew on December 11, 1997. Canadian certification was awarded on November 19, 1999, followed by US certification in January 2000, and US FAA dual pilot IFR certification in May 2000. The first customer deliveries occurred in January 2000.
Bell had planned to re-design the 427, offering it in 2004 as the Bell 427i, but later cancelled the program and focused on the improved Bell 429. In February 2005, the existing 80 orders for 427is were converted to the 429.
The Bell 427 was the company's first aircraft designed entirely on computer. Bell builds the 427's flight dynamics systems at Fort Worth, Texas, while final assembly is performed at Bell's Mirabel, Quebec facility. The 427's fuselage and tailboom are built by Samsung at its Sachon plant in South Korea.
Power is supplied by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D turboshafts with FADEC. Like the Bell 407, the 427 uses a 4-bladed rotor system with a rigid, composite rotor hub instead of the 2-bladed semirigid rotor of the Model 206.
The Bell 427's cabin is 33 cm (13 in) longer than the 407, and is largely of composite construction. The cabin lacks the roof beam which obstructs the cabin on the 206/206L/407, and has an optional sliding main cabin door. The 427's systems are nearly identical to the 407.
The 427 offers 8-place seating including pilot in a 2+3+3 arrangement. Alternate layouts include four in the main cabin in a club configuration, or two stretchers and two medical attendants for medevac duties.
Specifications (Bell 427)
Data from International Directory of Civil Aircraft
Published - July 2009
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