Bell Helicopter has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with PT Whitesky Aviation of Indonesia for 30 Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopters. The aircraft will be used for air taxi operations throughout Indonesia and its more than 14,000 islands.
The agreement was signed on 7th April in Jakarta. Based in Jakarta, PT Whitesky Aviation — initially created in 2002 as Kura Kura Aviation — is an emerging aviation company, specializing in non-scheduled operations. The company currently operates a fleet of six Bell Helicopter aircraft (three Bell 429s and three Bell 407s), along with two Cessna 402Bs and a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan.
With a cruise speed of 125kts (232km/h), range of 360 nautical miles (667km) and useful load of 1,500lb (608kg), the Bell 505 features a Garmin G1000H Integrated Avionics Suite and a Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine with dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). It is the first Bell model to be equipped with an engine from the French firm.
The five-seat, single-engine, turbine helicopter made its first flight in November 2014. Three flight test vehicles have now amassed more than 575 flight hours, and work has begun to prepare for initial production at the Louisiana Assembly Center which opened last year in Lafayette, Louisiana. Turbomecca received EASA type certification for the Arrius 2R engine in December 2015.
Bell now says it has more than 380 LoIs around the globe, including more than 130 in the Asia Pacific region.