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Bell 407

The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter; a derivative of the Bell 206L-4 LongRanger. The 407 uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with composite hub developed for the United States Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior instead of the two-blade, semi-rigid, seesaw, rotor of the 206L-4. The Bell 407 is frequently used for corporate and offshore transport, as an air ambulance, law enforcement, electronic news gathering and movie making.

 

Design and development

In 1993, Bell began the development of the New Light Aircraft as a replacement for its Model 206 series. The program resulted in the 407, a development of Bell's LongRanger. A 206L-3 LongRanger was modified to serve as the 407 demonstrator. The demonstrator used hardware for the 407 and added molded fairings to represent the 407's wider fuselage then under development.

The demonstrator was first flown on April 21, 1994, and the 407 program was publicly announced at the Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 1995. The first 407 prototype (C-GFOS) accomplished its maiden flight on June 29, 1995, and the second prototype (C-FORS) followed on July 13, 1995. After a short development program, the first production 407 (C-FWQY/N407BT) flew on November 10, 1995.

The Bell 407 features the four-blade main rotor developed for the OH-58D (Model 406). The blades and hub use composite construction without life limits, and provide better performance and a more comfortable ride. The 407's fuselage is 8 inches (18 cm) wider, increasing internal cabin space, and includes main cabin windows that are 35% larger. The more powerful Rolls-Royce/Allison 250-C47 turboshaft allows an increase in Maximum Takeoff Weight and improves performance at hotter temperatures and/or higher altitudes. The 407's airframe is generally similar to the LongRanger, but includes a carbon fiber composite tailboom. The helicopter has standard seating for two crew and five cabin seats.

The 407 was certificated by Transport Canada on February 9, 1996, with the FAA following shortly after on February 23. Full production begin in 1996 at Bell's Mirabel, Quebec, Canada plant and produced 140 airframes in 1997, to fill the initial orders.

 In 1995, Bell tested a shrouded tail rotor on the 407, but did not proceed. For a time, Bell studied developing the Model 407T twin-engine variant, but instead chose to develop the essentially all new twin PW206D powered Bell 427.

The Bell 417 was a growth variant of the Bell 407, in essence a civil version of the Bell ARH-70. The 417 made its first flight on June 8, 2006. The 417 was to be powered by a Honeywell HTS900 turboshaft engine, producing 970 shp (720 kW) and includes full FADEC controls. The cabin will seat 5 passengers in club-seating configuration, in addition to the crew of two. The civilian 417 was canceled at Heli-Expo 2007 in Orlando.

 

Operational history

Bell made delivery of the first production 407 at Heli-Expo, in Dallas, Texas in February 1996. Launch customers for the aircraft were Petroleum Helicopters, Niagara Helicopters, and Greenland Air.

On 23 May 2007, Colin Bodill and Jennifer Murray completed a record pole-to-pole around the world flight utilizing a standard Bell 407. The flight originated from Bell's facility at the Fort Worth Alliance Airport on December 5, 2006. The team flew about 36,000 miles (58,000 km) over 189 days and 300 flight hours, through 34 different countries. The project, named Polar First, was performed in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society to provide educational outreach to 28 international schools, which were visited during the trip. The project also served as a fundraiser for the SOS Children's Villages.

 

General characteristics

Crew: 1 pilot

Capacity: Typical seating configuration for seven comprising pilot and passengers, with five passengers in main cabin. Max hook capacity 1200 kg (2645 lb).[2]

Length: 41 ft 8 in (12.7 m)

Rotor diameter: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)

Height: 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)

Disc area: 962 ft² (89 m²)

Empty weight: 2,668 lb (1,210 kg)

Useful load: 2,347 lb (internal) (1,065 kg (internal))

Max. takeoff weight: 6,000 lb (2,722 kg)

Powerplant: 1 × Allison 250-C47B turboshaft, 813 shp (606 kW)

 

Performance

Maximum speed: 140 knots (260 km/h)

Cruise speed: 133 knots (152 mp/h, 246 km/h)

Range: 324 nmi (372 mi, 598 km)

Service ceiling: 18,690 ft (5,698 m)