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Bell Helicopter Breaks Ground On New Bell 505 Assembly Plant In Lafayette, LA

September 3, 2014 - Bell Helicopter commenced construction of its facility in Lafayette, LA, where the company will assemble its newest commercial helicopter, the Bell 505 Jet Ranger XTM.  

The new 82,300-square-foot, $26.3 million hangar facility will be built on a 14.5-acre site. Bell Helicopter will lease the facility from the Lafayette Regional Airport. The project is funded by the State of Louisiana and the company plans to invest $11.4 million in equipment and tooling. 

Bell Helicopter expects to begin hiring employees for the new facility by 2015, and assembly operations are expected to start by 2016 following certification of the facility and the aircraft.

The facility is expected to create 115 new jobs in Lafayette, and LED estimates the aerospace project will result in an additional 136 jobs, for a total of more than 250 new jobs in Acadiana. 

To date, Bell Helicopter has received more than 200 purchase agreements 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. 

Assembly of the first Bell 505 test aircraft is progressing at Bell Helicopter’s commercial assembly facility in Mirabel, Canada, and first flight is expected to take place by the end of 2014. Type Certificate activities with Transport Canada and Production Certification activities with the Federal Aviation Administration are also underway. 

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 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).



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