Flexible, Versatile Bell 429 Continues to Take Shape at Bell's Mirabel Facility

May 04, 2006

Mirabel, Canada - May 4, 2006 - The first two new 429 light twin helicopters being offered by Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT), continue their march down the assembly line in Mirabel, Canada and are on schedule for first flight later this year.

Detail design of the basic aircraft is about 90% complete and design of kits required for entry into service are also well underway.

Bill Stromberg, Executive Director of Commercial Program Management recently noted, "Bell has accumulated more than 40 flight hours on the advanced technology rotor system and the results to date have exceeded performance expectations." Envelope expansion testing continues and has demonstrated speeds up to 155 KIAS and to altitudes of 20,000 feet. Stromberg stated that, "stability of the rotor system has been excellent."

In addition to the 429's main rotor, Bell has flown the 429's autopilot and aircraft data interface unit on a 427 test aircraft and according to a Bell spokesman both have performed flawlessly, including feet-off-of-controls approach to touchdown.

As with any development program weight growth is a concern and Bell has an active weight control program underway and has been successful in reducing the weight of the basic 429 aircraft by about 200 lbs. "Bell Helicopter will meet all weight commitments to our customers, and all performance targets for the aircraft will be met or bettered based on concept demonstration and wind tunnel testing to date," said Stromberg.

The 429 combines all the features normally found in a medium twin with the economy of a light twin helicopter. With orders of over 200, the 429 is one of the most successful new helicopter launched in recent memory.

Bell Helicopter is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

Textron Inc is a $10 billion multi-industry company operating in 33 countries with approximately 37,000 employees in continuing operations. 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, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others. More information is available at www.textron.com.

Connect with Textron IR

Eric Salander, Vice President, Investor Relations
(401) 457-2288
Cameron Vollmuth, Manager,
Investor Relations (401) 457-2288

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