The Bell 407 helicopter had the monumental task of following in the footsteps of the renowned Bell 206 and not just matching but surpassing its legacy. It undoubtedly rose to the occasion.
A New Era Begins
Introduced in 1995, the Bell 407 ingeniously integrated the best features of the Bell 206 LongRanger, while also drawing inspiration from the OH-58 military variant. It seamlessly blended the expansive fuselage of the LongRanger with the OH-58’s tail boom and its unique four-bladed main rotor.
Innovative Design Choices
One notable innovation was the composite rotor. Originally crafted for military purposes, Bell saw potential in its civilian use. Advantages of this rotor include diminished vibrations, enhanced passenger comfort, and an extended operational lifespan. Additionally, the tailboom’s composite construction optimizes weight and stiffness.
The Bell 407 encapsulates the essence of both the Bell 206 and OH-58, giving rise to an aircraft that is larger, more proficient, and extremely comfortable. The Bell 407 retained the reliability that the Bell 206, it garnered attention from both commercial enterprises and governmental entities.
With an Allison 250-C47 turboshaft engine at its heart, the Bell 407 touts a commendable seven hundred shp, cruise speeds of 152 mph, and a max speed of 160 mph. These features, coupled with the Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), enable greater payload capacities, superior performance in elevated temperatures, and unrivaled smoothness in flight.
Variations and Expansions
The Bell 407’s versatility is clear in its range of variants. Notable examples include:
- Eagle 407: Commissioned for Canada’s Eagle Copter, it sports a Honeywell engine.
- MQ-8C Fire-X: An unmanned drone structure tailored for the Navy.
- Bell 407AH & 407GT: Armed versions crafted for civilian and law enforcement tasks.
- Bell 407GX: A modern rendition boasting advanced Garmin avionics.
The ARH-70, a military spinoff of the Bell 407, saw light duty, it was discontinued in 2008. Its successor, the Bell 417, intended for civilian application, met a similar fate.
Global Influence and Applications
Mirroring the global acceptance of the Bell 206, the 407 has found a home in countries worldwide. Its adaptability allows it to serve myriad roles. The helicopter is used by law enforcement, for medical evacuation to news coverage. It is also used for corporate transport and government operations. It stands as a testament to Bell’s commitment to evolving helicopter design.
Spotlight on the Bell 407GX
A captivating video by jss747 offers an immersive tour of the Bell 407GX, encompassing landing, takeoff, and hover maneuvers. This Bell 407, having traveled from Dallas, TX to Cleveland, Ohio, boasts an impressive G1000 H model avionics suite and comfortably accommodates up to five passengers.