The Bell Helicopter Model 429 is the direct successor to the short-lived Bell Model 427, another in a long line of attempts by the company to produce a twin-engine offering of its successful Model 206/407 products. The Model 429 is known as the "GlobalRanger" and can fulfill various light utility roles. A first-flight of a prototype aircraft was had on February 27th, 2007 and service entry occurred in 2009. The GlobalRanger is currently (2017) in service with Australia, Canada, Kuwait, Oman, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States in military and civilian market roles.
The Model 429 was originally born as an offshoot of the short-lived Model 427 and became a stretched-fuselage version intended to overcome some of the Model 427's inherent limitations. However, this approach was abandoned in favor of an all-new design involving a more modular approach being developed by the company. The gearbox and engine systems of the Model 427 were carried over as was its general design form but the newer Model 429 was essentially an all-new aircraft. This led to a first-flight in 2007 and testing continued into 2008. In 2009 the series was granted certification, paving the way for serial production efforts. The launch customer became Air Methods Corporation (U.S.).
The Model 429 seats one pilot and can hold a crew of two in a side-by-side cockpit arrangement (the cockpit sporting an digitally-driven "glass" design approach). Up to six passengers can be carried in the cabin aft. Dimensions include a length of 41.7 feet, a width (including the rotor diameter) of 36 feet and a height of 13.2 feet. Empty weight is 4,245lb against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 7,000lb. The undercarriage is a simple four-point skid unit with a retractable wheeled undercarriage being offered as an option. MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC) versions have an optional rear cargo ramp/door (clamshell-type) and can carry medical litters and limited support staff. Internally, the cockpit sports 3 x large Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), as part of the BasiX-Pro Integrated Avionics System, and various other modern systems and subsystems. Both cockpit positions feature cyclic and collective control sticks as well as foot pedals.
Power is from 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D1 turboshaft engines developing 625 horsepower each and driving a four-bladed (composite) main rotor over the fuselage and a four-bladed (2 x two-bladed units in an X-form pattern) tail rotor (offset to portside) at the extreme aft-end of the empennage. Performance specs include a maximum speed of 180 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 172.5 mph and a range out to 450 miles. The listed service ceiling is 20,000 feet.
To date (2017), the Model 429 has already exceeded the market reach of the preceding Model 427 for various customers, perhaps well on its way to becoming a true Model 206/407 twin-engined successor.