Bell Helicopter Regains Mercy Flight of Western New York as Key Customer

October 12, 2010

Mercy Flight Adds to Existing Fleet with Additional Bell 429s

Air Medical Transport Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL – October 12, 2010 – Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced that Mercy Flight of Western New York has signed an agreement to purchase the first of a potential three Bell 429s, the world's newest helicopter, to replace its existing fleet of Eurocopter helicopters.

“Bell Helicopter is extremely gratified to welcome Mercy Flight back to the Bell family,” said Larry D. Roberts, senior vice president Commercial Business. “Mercy Flight of Western New York began their business flying the Bell 206B – it is only fitting that after a lengthy evaluation process they made the decision to upgrade their existing fleet to the newest and most advanced light-twin helicopter in the world, the Bell 429.”

“Bell’s industry leading customer support combined with all the advantages that the 429 brings to the table including the best IFR performance in the industry, expansive cabin volume and the MSG3 progressive maintenance concept represent a strong combination of features and benefits that clearly place the 429 as the best choice for the air ambulance mission,” said Roberts.

Headquartered in Buffalo, New York, Mercy Flight of Western New York is an independent, not-for-profit provider of emergency air medical transport and supporting services, ensuring rapid, safe and cost effective delivery of expert emergency response teams. Established in 1981, Mercy Flight has flown more than 19,000 patient missions over the last 29+ years. They currently operate five helicopters and have crews ready to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week out of bases in Buffalo, Batavia and Olean. The first of the three twin-engine helicopters is expected to be in service in second quarter of 2011.

“The Bell 429 is impressive and will help Mercy Flight improve our level of service,” said Douglas H. Baker, Founding President. “The improvement in speed and leading edge technology will make a big difference in our service delivery – especially when minutes matter between life and death.”

“We are honored that Mercy Flight has placed their trust with Bell Helicopter. We work every day to make sure that Mercy Flight is fully supported to meet their mission of saving lives. Just as Bell began the air ambulance evacuation missions in Korea and the same model helicopter later served here at Mercy Flight, the 429 will continue the tradition of reliability, safety and service.” said Roberts.

The 429 was certified in mid-2009 as a single-pilot instrument flight rules (SPIFR), Category A helicopter under the latest requirements of Part 27 airworthiness rules by Canadian, U.S. and European authorities. It is designed and built to more stringent airworthiness standards than any other light, twin-engine helicopter.

The Bell 429 has the largest cabin in its class - providing unsurpassed headroom and ample legroom, with the front row of passenger cabin seats easily reconfigurable or effortlessly removed to convert from passenger to cargo service or any combination of the two. Optional rear clamshell doors provide an ingress and egress option into the largest cabin offered in a light twin. The uniquely designed clamshells are easily opened with one hand and “hug the fuselage” to provide a safe work zone at the rear of the 429 - making it efficient and effective for the EMS mission.

The 429’s maintenance program is the only one in the helicopter industry that’s based on Maintenance Steering Group 3 (MSG-3) practices that are the foundation of airlines' unprecedented reliability. The 429 is the first rotorcraft to have its maintenance program approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to these high standards.

About Bell Helicopter
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor 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. More information is available at

About Textron Inc.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron in known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at

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