October 07, 2013
Bell has selected Garmin’s G1000H avionics suite for its Short Light Single (SLS) helicopter program.
The program, which aims to build a successor to the Model 206 JetRanger, is aiming to introduce new technology into the light helicopter market while providing competition to the Robinson R66 Turbine, which is quickly gaining ground in a number of key markets.
The G1000H system will display flight instrumentation, navigation, communication, weather, terrain, traffic, identification, and diagnostics and maintenance data for the helicopter, and will also be linked to the full-authority digital engine control system on the Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine, which will be installed on the aircraft — the first time a Turbomeca engine has been selected for use on a Bell product. The Garmin system is already featured on the company’s updated 407GX model helicopter.
Bell has been working on the SLS for two years and the company is planning for a first flight in 2014. Company officials say there is an internal competition between the teams developing the SLS and the Model 525 super medium helicopter to see which one will fly first. A decision on where the helicopter will be built has yet to be announced, but officials have said the aircraft will be certified by Transport Canada first.
Customer advisory panels, which include private owners and large operators, have called for SLS to be able to fly at 125 kt (232 kph), deliver to ranges out to 420 nm (667 km) and provide a useful load of around 1,500 lb. (608 kg). It also includes a baggage compartment volume of 18 sq. ft.
The aircraft will use the dynamic component from the Model 206L-4 LongRanger, a type that remains in production with the company. The name and designation of the SLS is being kept secret and is expected to be announced by the company at the 2014 Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif., in March.