The Nigerian government has become the first African customer to use the Bell 429 light twin-engine utility helicopter, having received two aircraft for use by the Nigeria Police Air Wing (NPAW) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

“Our Nigerian customers are thrilled to be the first Bell 429 operators in Africa,” said Robert Prentice, vice president, Aircraft Sales, of Africair, Inc., Bell Helicopter’s independent representative in Africa. “The Bell 429…will serve the NPAW and NEMA well for many years to come. They (Nigerians) are particularly impressed with Bell Helicopter’s reputation for exceptional product support.”

He said the NPAW and NEMA chose the Bell 429 because it has a large cabin, features state-of-the-art avionics equipment and has a smooth and fast ride.

Roberts noted that the Nigeria Police Air Wing is a long-standing Bell Helicopter customer, having operated Bell 47, 206, 427 and 412 helicopters in the past. In January last year the Nigeria Police Air Wing took delivery of two new Bell 412EP helicopters. The Police Air Wing operates several helicopters, including two Bell 206s and three Bell 427s (a fourth Bell 427 was lost in a fatal crash on March 14, 2012).

The Bell 429 was developed by Bell and Korea Aerospace Industries and features a cruise speed of 172 miles per hour, a flight range of over 400 miles and a service ceiling of 20 000 feet. Its cabin has a seating capacity for up to eight passengers. According to the manufacturer, the Bell 429 has been certified to fly in more than 40 countries.

The delivery of the helicopters to Nigeria was done following validation by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. The authority also endorsed the Bell 429 gross weight increase from 3 175 to 3 402 kg, making Nigeria the fifteenth country to approve the increased maximum gross weight for the Bell 429 based on Transport Canada’s certification.

“Nigeria’s validation of the 429 and its endorsement of the gross weight increase is very exciting for us as the country continues to expand its aviation services and infrastructure,” said Danny Maldonado, Bell’s executive vice president of commercial sales and marketing.

“As the most populous country in Africa, and its leading producer of oil, there is increasing demand for reliable rotorcraft in the oil and gas, utility/corporate, and parapublic sectors. The performance boost of the 429’s increased gross weight will allow customers across all segments to fully utilise the capabilities of the aircraft to carry more fuel and equipment.”

This article was originally published on defenceWeb on March 5, 2013 here: http://bit.ly/1ujlenS

defenceWeb is the premier online African defence and security news publication, keeping readers up to date with current and emerging defence, security and military technology affairs in Africa.

 

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