Milestone moves the company one step closer to production and delivery of its eagerly-awaited Bell 505 Jet Ranger X
LAFAYETTE, La. (August 27, 2015)Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today theBell Helicopter Lafayette Assembly Centeris officially open for business in Lafayette, La., where the company will assemble the new commercial helicopter, theBell 505 Jet Ranger X.
Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Secretary Steven Grissom and other state, regional and local officials joined Bell Helicopter’s president and CEO, John Garrison, to commemorate the occasion today at the Lafayette Regional Airport.
To view images of the facility and the ceremony, visithere.
“Today’s dedication of the Bell Helicopter Lafayette Assembly Center opens a new era in Louisiana’s rich history in aerospace. From the original home of Delta Airlines, to pre-World War II aircraft assembly operations, to NASA’s space shuttle program and its current mission that will send manned flights to the moon and Mars, Louisiana has played a leading role in flight,” said Governor Bobby Jindal. “Bell Helicopter recognized these historic accomplishments, along with the major energy-related transportation companies in our state that rely on helicopter transit. We’re proud that Louisiana’s rapidly improving business climate, our outstanding workforce and our unmatched quality of life led Bell Helicopter to make Louisiana its state of choice for this aerospace project, which will benefit our people for generations to come.”
The new 82,300-square-foot, $26.3 million hangar facility is built on a 14.5-acre site and Bell Helicopter will lease the facility from the Lafayette Regional Airport. The project was funded by the State of Louisiana and the company plans to invest $11.4 million in equipment and tooling. Bell Helicopter is ramping up the hiring process for the facility, and assembly operations are expected to start early this year with deliveries to follow in 2016 after certification of the aircraft. The facility is expected to create 115 new jobs in Lafayette.
“The Bell 505 Jet Ranger Xis priced to compete and offers an exceptional combination of value, performance and features available on the market,” said Garrison. “We look forward to delivering this aircraft to our customers around the world and want to thank the state of Louisiana and Lafayette parish for going above and beyond to support our business.”
The grand opening marks the one year anniversary of the facility’s groundbreaking. At the ceremony, guests were able to tour the facility – getting up close with the Bell 505 flight simulator, and view the first Bell 505 engine delivered to the facility – the Turbomeca Arrius 2R.
To date, Bell Helicopter has received more than 350 letters of intent from around the globe for the Bell 505. The five-seat, single-engine, turbine helicopter leverages Bell Helicopter’s proven technology and nearly half a century of experience defining the short light single market with the original Bell JetRanger.
“We are excited to have successfully reached this milestone of the facility opening, and our proud to share in this moment with our customers, employees, suppliers and the Lafayette community,” said Paul Watts, general manager of the Bell Helicopter Lafayette Aircraft Assembly Center. “This advances us one step closer to production and delivery of this aircraft.”
With a cruise speed of 125 knots (232 km/h), range of 360 nautical miles (667 km) and useful load of 1,500 pounds (608 kg), the Bell 505 is designed to be safe and easy to fly while remaining affordably priced. The customer-driven design of the aircraft places safety, performance and affordability at the forefront, blending proven systems with advanced technology and a sleek, modern design. The Garmin G1000H Integrated Avionics Suite provides pilots critical flight information at a glance to maximize situational awareness. Pilot workload is further reduced by the Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine with dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).
Pictured Left to Right: Jason el Koubi, Al Gonsoulin, Bell Helicopter president and CEO John Garrison, general manager of the Bell Helicopter Lafayette Aircraft Assembly CenterPaul Watts, Joel Robideaux, Joey Durel
Photo taken by: Jon Steele
About Bell Helicopter
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.
About Textron Inc.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information visit:www.textron.com.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the efficacy of research and development investments to develop new products or unanticipated expenses in connection with the launching of significant new products or programs; the timing of our new product launches or certifications of our new aircraft products; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers;changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of our products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; performance issues with key suppliers or subcontractors; difficult conditions in the financial markets which may adversely impact our customers’ ability to fund or finance purchases of our products; changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellations or deferrals of orders; and demand softness or volatility in the markets in which we do business.