HELI-EXPO: Bell unveils power and avionics upgrade for 412EP

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Bell Helicopter has unveiled plans to introduce a more powerful and sophisticated version of the medium-twin 412EP.

The 412EPI replaces the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-3DF with a newer version of the engine called the PT6T-9, which includes an improved hot section and an engine electronic control (EEC) system.

By adding the new engine, as well as BLR Aerospace-supplied dual tailboom strakes and its FastFin vertical fin modification, the 412EPI will be able to carry about 640kg (1,410lb) more in "hot and high" conditions.

In addition to the power upgrade, Bell is also moving the 412EPI to the company's internally developed BasiX-Pro avionics suite. Formerly applied solely to the Bell 429, the BasiX-Pro system brings improved situational awareness to the 412EPI, including a wide area augmentation system (WAAS) approach capability, a Garmin GTN-750 communications/navigation system and a touch-screen global positioning system (GPS) display.

To accelerate the development schedule, Bell plans to introduce the 412EPI under a supplemental type certificate instead of gaining approval for the helicopter as an entirely new type, says chief executive John Garrison.