Non-Military Aircraft In Development For Long-Haul Offshore
Bell Helicopter is reportedly getting very close to unveiling
its new civilian helicopter, which it is developing for
use primarily in the offshore oil market. The aircraft
will fill a niche transporting oil and natural gas workers more
than 200 miles off shore.
The new aircraft design is expected to be revealed at Heli-Expo
in Dallas in February, according to a report in the Fort Worth
Star-Telegram. The aircraft, codenamed "Project Magellan," is
designed as a twin-engine aircraft with a five-bladed main rotor.
It's range is anticipated to be in the 400-600 nautical mile range,
giving operators the ability to transport workers at least 200 NM
and return on a single tank of fuel.
Magellan represents a clean-sheet, $500 million design project
for the helicopter maker. The company is aggressively pursuing a
mid-2016 certification date, with sales reaching 60-70 aircraft per
year by 2020. Analysts, however, say those forecasts are
Bell has some established competition in the market segment.
Sikorsky, AgustaWestland, and Eurocopter all make or are designing
aircraft with similar capabilities.
Bell hopes that this aircraft will help fill a void left as
defense budgets are cut. The company says it will need a strong
line of modern civilian aircraft on the market to stay in