Bell recently showed a new Designer Series interior for the executive version of its 429 helicopter. The materials include high-quality leathers, hardwood flooring options, hand-stitching on the seats, and metal finishes on features like lights, air valves, cabin handles and door latches.
“Part of our modernization process was to bring the 429 up to speed with a high-quality look and feel,” Matt Jayne, Bell’s manager of product marketing told Robb Report. “The type of customer for this helicopter is used to a certain aesthetic, since he’ll be moving between different assets like a luxury car or yacht. We wanted to make this a seamless process for them.”
Bell’s design team has looked at other sectors like automotive and marine to find new materials. Because it’s an aircraft, however, the materials have to be lightweight and flame-proof. The flooring was chosen because of its durability and style. “No longer do you have to cover up a high-end carpet with a plastic floor protector to keep it from getting dirty,” says Jayne.
LaShan Bonaparte, vice president of global sales, said that Bell has been working with clients to gain customer feedback for the new interior. The company wants to “provide a comfortable and luxury experience in the aircraft,” he said.
Clients, in fact, wanted leathers beyond the standard offerings for its corporate interiors, so Bell sourced new high-end materials. “We have three different color options for the upholstery and clients can mix colors or even invert them—choosing a red and gray leather mix for instance,” says Jayne. “It offers the ability to give it a unique look.”
The design team also added USB charging ports, and fold-down tray tables, while consoles are also available. The interior also features leather-wrapped handles and color-matched logo plates. The upholstery colors can also be matched with the exterior paint scheme.
The large-cabin 429 offers seating for seven, a cruise speed of 155 knots, and range of 411 nautical miles. Its 62-inch door is the widest in the industry for easy access. The first new Designer Series interior was shown last month at HAI’s Heli-Expo. It was delivered to a client in New Zealand.