Bell Flies MAPL Tail Fan Demonstrator

July 19, 2004
FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW - July 19, 2004 - Bell Helicopter Chief Executive Officer Mike Redenbaugh today announced the first flight of Bell's MAPL tail fan demonstrator at Bell's new XworX research center in Arlington, Texas. On Thursday July 15th, the aircraft lifted into a hover, performed some low-speed maneuvers including pedal turns, and landed. The demonstrator will be used to explore the flight characteristics of this protected, low-noise anti-torque device intended for use on Bell's new MAPL line of light helicopters (the Modular Affordable Product Line).

Bell MAPL Tail FanMr. Redenbaugh said, "This is an extension of protected anti-torque development at Bell that started in the 1970s with small-scale testing and includes the Ducted Tail Rotor demonstrations done ten years ago. We are developing a tail rotor for our customers that will be quieter, more effective, and more reliable with lower operating costs."

After the flight, pilot Jim McCollough said, "This aircraft is easy to fly. The workload in hover is very low." Observers described the tail fan as practically inaudible. "You can occasionally hear a purring sound," said one. The demonstrator is an experimental Bell 407 with a forty-inch diameter fan and duct, which replace the sixty-five inch diameter tail rotor. The tail fan incorporates technology developed during bench testing completed earlier this year, many features of which are covered by new patent disclosures. It has been designed to allow testing in multiple different duct configurations, to provide information on their performance and acoustics in hover and forward flight. The test program will be conducted at the XworX facility and at Leadville, Colorado to obtain high-altitude performance data.

The tail fan is only one of many new technologies being developed specifically for the MAPL family, including an advanced rotor demonstrator planned to fly later this year. The first aircraft in the MAPL family is expected to be available in 2008, although some of these new technologies are mature and are being incorporated in Bell's 427i announced at HAI earlier this year.

Bell Helicopter Textron, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., is a $1.6 billion, leading producer of commercial and military helicopters, and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce of over 7,500 employees serves customers flying Bell aircraft in over 120 countries.

Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) is a $10 billion multi-industry company with more than 43,000 employees in 40 countries. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others. More information is available at

Connect with Textron IR

David Rosenberg, Vice President, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288
Kyle Williams, Manager, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288

Email Alert

Enter your Email *
Mailing Lists *

Enter the code shown above.