Bell Helicopter on July 1 announced that it received FAA and Transport Canada certification for its long awaited Bell 429 light twin. Deliveries of the twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207DI-powered, $4.865 million (2007 dollars) helicopter are scheduled to begin later this month. Bell holds more than 300 customer purchase letters of intent for the 429 and is in the process of converting them to firm orders.
Montréal-Mirabel International Airport
By the time you read this, it is likely that Bell Helicopter will have received Transport Canada type certification for its twin-turbine Bell 429 light helicopter. Though not quite as likely, the FAA might also have validated Transport Canada’s TC, since the U.S. agency has been following the process closely.
Manufacturing workers at Bell Helicopter near Fort Worth, Texas, went on strike Monday for the first time in more than two decades in part to protect the jobs of 44 janitors whose work the company wants to outsource. On the Web site for United Auto Workers Local 218, the union said its members would remain on strike until at least June 21.
The firm order placed by Deutsche Lufthansa late this past winter for 30 Bombardier CS100 airliners not only gave the much-maligned C Series its first confirmed customer, it granted the executives at Bombardier Commercial Airplanes (Chalets A365, A366) some measure of vindication after eight months of persistent questions about whether the program would ever yield a prototype.
It took eight months of waiting since its industrial launch, but the C Series finally drew its first firm orders this month, putting to rest gathering speculation by industry observers that the airplane might never materialize.
As analysts and pundits debated the merits and launch prospects of Bombardier’s C Series airliner, the Canadian manufacturer quietly went about its business readying yet another version of its CRJ series for first flight.
Bombardier announced here yesterday the long-anticipated launch of its C-Series family of single-aisle airliners. The company also revealed that final assembly will occur in Mirabel, Quebec, laying to rest any speculation that production would move south of the U.S.-Canada border, specifically to Kansas City. Bombardier president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin called it “an historic day for Bombardier.”
Bombardier expects the largest airplane it has ever built–the 100-seat CRJ1000–to take to the skies for the first time this month, on schedule and on budget. Plans call for the only CRJ1000 prototype to embark on a 14-month flight test regime expected to result in certification and first delivery to launch customer Brit Air in the fourth quarter of next year.
Walking away from a wage settlement endorsed by their own union leadership, 8,000 rank and file members of Local 712 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers had shut down the assembly lines for Bombardier Regional Jets and, as of press time, effectively stymied production of both Challenger business jets and RJs by stopping fabrication of critical subassemblies for those aircraft.
Pratt & Whitney Canada last month announced its plan to invest $90 million in the construction of a new flight-test operations center at Montreal Mirabel International Airport. The 164,000-sq-ft facility will feature two bays and will support a range of engines, from turboprops to turbofans producing up to 90,000 pounds of thrust.