Just what is behind the curtain? Nearly a decade of speculation surrounding trademark and patent filings, leaked inter-company memos, and rumors concerning a major new model may be coming to an end for Bell Helicopter. The company is set to make a big announcement at its booth (No. 9846) at 11:30 this morning here at Heli-Expo.
Several filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Bell Helicopter Textron in late December provide strong hints of new product announcements likely to come next month at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo convention in Dallas. According to the filings, Bell is requesting trademarks for “525SMT,” “Magellan” and “407GT.”
Bell will build its new medium-twin Magellan helicopter in Texas, company CEO John Garrison revealed in a memo sent to employees yesterday.
A new 10-hour jet card is available from broker Magellan Jets. The card costs $34,950 and imposes no daily minimum flight times, federal excise taxes, positioning charges within the base service area, blackout dates or fuel surcharges. The card includes 10 hours in an Eclipse 500 very light jet for flights in the Northeast U.S.
Two helo makers–Eurocopter and Bell–have thrown their proverbial hats into the medium-twin market. Eurocopter, in partnership with China’s Avicopter, has entered with the EC175, while Bell’s recently announced Magellan has yet to reach the drawing board.
Eurocopter currently is flying two EC175 prototypes, and is expecting EASA certification later this year, with deliveries to begin next year.
In a company-wide memo circulated to employees January 20, Bell Helicopter announced the launch of “Magellan,” a new helicopter widely believed to be a medium-twin replacement for its venerable 412 and aimed at the superheated deepwater offshore oil and gas market. The memo said Magellan is a follow-on to “Project X.” Magellan is thought to have civil and military applications. Bell declined to comment on the memo.
Boston-based charter broker Magellan Jets last month launched its Voyager Program, which entitles members to guaranteed hourly rates on various aircraft; a scheduled departure guarantee (or a 10-percent discount on the traveler’s next flight); three aircraft upgrades per year; concierge service; and one-way and round-trip pricing.
Magellan Jets announced launch of its Voyager private jet program, which deducts flight costs from a $250,000 membership fee. The Boston-based company, which does not own or operate aircraft, works with FAA Part 135 charter operators that meet ARG/US or Wyvern safety standards.