The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter; a derivative of the Bell 206L-3 LongRanger. The 407 uses the four-blade, soft, in-plane, rigid rotor with composite hub that was developed for the United States Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior instead of the two-bladed, semi-rigid rotor of the 206L-3. The Bell 407 is frequently used for corporate and offshore transport, as an air ambulance, law enforcement, electronic news gathering and movie making.
In 1993, Bell began the development of the New Light Aircraft as a replacement for its Model 206 series. The program resulted in the 407, a development of Bell's LongRanger. A 206L-3 LongRanger was modified to serve as the 407 demonstrator. The demonstrator used hardware for the 407 and added molded fairings to represent the 407's wider fuselage then under development.
The demonstrator was first flown on April 21, 1994, and the 407 program was publicly announced at the Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 1995. The first (C-GFOS) of two 407 prototypes accomplished its first flight on June 29, 1995, and the second prototype (C-FORS) followed on July 13, 1995. After a short development program, the first production 407 (C-FWQY/N407BT) flew on November 10, 1995.
The Bell 407 features the four-blade main rotor developed for the OH-58D (Model 406). The blades and hub use composite construction without life limits, and provide better performance and a more comfortable ride. The 407's fuselage is 8 inches (18 cm) wider, increasing internal cabin space, and includes main cabin windows that are 35% larger. The more powerful Rolls-Royce/Allison 250-C47 turboshaft allows an increase in Maximum Takeoff Weight and improves performance at hotter temperatures and/or higher altitudes. The 407's airframe is generally similar to the LongRanger, but includes a carbon fiber composite tailboom. The helicopter has standard seating for two crew and five cabin seats.
The 407 was certificated by Transport Canada on February 9, 1996, with the FAA following shortly after on February 23. Full production begin in 1996 at Bell's Mirabel, Quebec, Canada plant and reached 140 airframes per year in 1997, to fill the initial orders.
In 1995, Bell tested a shrouded tail rotor on the 407, but did not proceed. For a time, Bell studied developing the Model 407T twin-engine variant, but instead chose to develop the essentially all new twin PW206D powered Bell 427.
Bell completed 875 helicopters from 1996 to 2008. Bell has 260 unfilled orders for the type as of January 2009.
Cruise speed: 224 km/h
Total range: 612 km
Width: 2,22 m
Length: 9,80 m
Height: 3,10 m
Length: 1.52 m
Width: 1.37 m
Height: 1.28 m
Passengers: up to 5
Baggage capacity: 1.65 cubic m