Belgian Air Force Demo Team 2012
   Text & Pictures : Marc Arys - Documents courtesy Bell / Textron © sbap 2012  

On May 29, 2012, the new Bell 429 was introduced to the Belgian public scene at the heliport of Heliplus Spiere in Spiere Helkijn, near Kortrijk. 

The Bell 429 is a light-twin helicopter featuring a state-of-the-art fully integrated glass-cockpit based on single-pilot instrument flight rules and designed to be JAR-OPS 3 compliant including a Bell BasiX avionics package, a flight director, a dual digital three-axis autopilot and fully adjustable pedals and seating.

Developed by Bell Helicopters and Korea Aerospace Industries, based on the Bell 427. Although the 429 has the all-modular airframe concept and advanced rotorblade design from the MAPL (Modular Affordable Product Line) it maintains a derivative engine and rotor drive system from the 427. The first flight of the 429 prototype was on February 27, 2007 with type certification on July 01, 2009. It features a 4-blade rotorsystem with soft-in-plane flex beams and composite rotorblades with swept tips for reduced noise. The tail rotor is a two two-blade rotor set at uneven intervals (like an "X") also to reduce the noise signature of the helicopter.

Side or rear loading capability, large cabin windows, a spacious cabin with easely removable seating to convert quickly from passenger to cargo service, energy-attenuating passenger seats, collective mounted throttles, damage tolerant hub and rotor system… you can have it all and this at a cruising speed of 150 Kts. Twin Pratt & Whitney PW207D1 turboshaft engines with digital fuel controls provide a 'Category A' performance in all conditions.

Optional clamshell doors and rear-sliding/forward-hinged doors allow unobstructed acces from the rear or through either side.
During our visit the opportunity was given to have a flight in the 429 and the smoothness and quietness of the ride was striking. Ample of cabin space, easy access, a large luggage area,… a dream. 

There is a 429 for every need :

- 429 EMS for emergency medical services : with true two-litter capability and room for two medical attendants plus two crew members (or one crew member and a third attendant)

- 429 Offshore : with an optional emergency flotation system and ditching kits

- 429 Law Enforcement : for patrolling, special unit insertion or an airborne communication center, optional 600-pound rectractable hoist

- 429 Corporate : with individual seat quick release disconnects, spacious configurable seating with ample legroom and easely customized for luxurious amenities with a spacious baggage area

Users :

Royal Australian Navy 723 Squadron (3)

United States :

Fairfax County Police Department, Fairfax County, Virginia (2)

Mercy Medical Center, Des Moines, Iowa (1)

San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington (1)

Air St. Luke's, Meridian, Idaho and Twin Falls, Idaho (2)

Technical specifications :



Rotor diameter                                

Seating capacity                                 

Empty weight                                     

Maximum gross weight                        

Max gross weight with external load   

Cargo hook capacity                           

Standard usable fuel                          

Auxiliary fuel (optional)                     



VH Fast cruise                                    

Service ceiling                               

Hover ceiling IGE (MGW, ISA)       

Hover ceiling OGE (MGW, ISA)         

Max range (MGW, ISA, no reserve)    

Max endurance (60 kt loiter speed)    

41 ft 8 in         12,7 m

13 ft 3 in         4,04 m

36 ft                10,97 m

1 + 7

4.478 lbs         2.031 kg

7.000 lbs         3.175 kg

7.500 lbs         3.402 kg

3.000 lbs         1.361 kg

217 U.S. gal     821 liters

39  U.S. gal      148 liters


155 kt              287 km/h

150 kt              278 km/h

20.000 ft         6.096 m

14.132 ft          4.307 m

11.282 ft          3.439 m

407 nm             754 km

4,4 hours

spacious and luxurious cabin optional clamshell doors for easy acces to luggage area or providing,
in case of a medical service, ease of loading and unloading of litters.
state-of-the-art fully integrated glass-cockpit  
rear-sliding and forward hinged doors allow unobstructed acces on either side 4-blade rotorsystem with soft-in-plane flex beams
two two-blade rotor set at uneven intervals  


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