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Bell 505 Jet Ranger X


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#1 Jaybee

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:22

So what's the consensus here ?

 

I really like it except the....    skids....   I really hope someone at Bell does something about the skid design before they put this out in the marketplace. I'm sure it functions fine but man it just looks so dainty and out of place.


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"In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks." — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900. 
 
"The foot rests have a profound impact on the outcome of today's flight ending safely" - My flight instructor.

#2 Flying Pig

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:35

That's exactly what I thought..... Looks like it's sitting on toothpicks
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#3 Fred0311

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:49

Aesthetically I prefer the looks of the old jet ranger. I'm looking forward to seeing some performance numbers though.

#4 SBuzzkill

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:00

I like it a lot but you're right about the skids.



#5 Nearly Retired

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:17

Obviously Bell has recycled a lot of 206 parts - like the drivetrain and tailboom - to keep the price point "around" $1million in 2014 dollars.  We'll see.

 

WHAT I DON"T LIKE:

 

1.  The genius of the original 206 was that they mounted the transmission over the back seats.  This gave tremendous flexibility in loading; it's hard to get a 206B out of c.g.  I notice that the 505 now has the transmission mounted behind the cabin (kind of like my beloved FH100).  Bad move.  I predict c.g. issues.  And I'll say this: I do not foresee a stretched "505X-L" in the cards.  (I do understand that the transmission placement was also a weakness, because you could not find a direct load path from the cargo hook to the bottom of the trans.  That issue appears to be resolved with the 505.)

 

2.  They FINALLY put the baggage compartment door on the pilot's side (yay!)...BUT...what the deuce??  They put the fuel filler on the opposite side of the pilot??  Are they serious?  Morons.

 

3.  If *ANYONE* at Bell thinks that cabin design is "sexy" or even good-looking, they're taking some serious LSD.  The design team of the original 206 must be rolling in their graves.

 

Can you imagine what a bubble will cost to replace WHEN (not "if") it gets cracked?  Good Lord.  And the clamshell main cabin doors...again, what where they thinking?  Visibility-wise, the 206 has a huge blind spot to the pilot's right-front unless he sits well back in the seat and doesn't slump.  The 505 looks even worse in that regard.  I know they wanted to make the cabin wider (and they did) but how are we supposed to longline out of that thing?

 

SUMMARY:  I dunno...  In some ways I cannot believe that Bell gave this thing the go-ahead.    I mean, I know they wanted a 206 with a bigger cabin, but this?  Really?  Couldn't they have just given us back the 206B?  What was wrong with it?  Certainly the tooling was all paid for (many times over!) and it could have been build in Louisiana for $1million or so.  If Bell puts the 505 in production in its current configuration, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to it.  Because I'm telling you - I'm not a huge fan of the EC120, but that thing is friggin' GORGEOUS compared to the 505 (which reminds me a little of the OH-4).


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#6 Jaybee

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:51

Good points - I was curious about how rear passengers exit during emergency egress with the clamshell doors. Anyone ?

 

As far as looks, it looks as good as a Robbie to me *shrug* not the ugliest thing I've ever seen (Brantly anyone? Flying Banana anyone?) but not the sexiest either.

 

As far as canopy (bubble) the more the better ! I started off in a 47 so no complaints here :D


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"In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks." — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900. 
 
"The foot rests have a profound impact on the outcome of today's flight ending safely" - My flight instructor.

#7 McGavin

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:54

I'm a EC120 pilot so I'm a little bias, but I think Bell is going to have a difficult time competing in the established EC120 and R-66 market unless the operating costs are very low. It is basically a EC-120 clone without some of the advantages like the fenestron or large rear storage. Bell really screwed up by using a TurboMecca engine since that is one complaint against the 120 and they missed the opportunity to offer a better power plant alternative.

That said, It looks like they nailed it with the 429. That is my dream ship to fly.

#8 adam32

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 13:15

The 505 looks like something an EC120 spit up...it's stupid and pointless. I foresee Bell not producing it at all, they just needed to throw something new out for Heli-Expo.

 

Now the A109 Trekker on the other hand, now that's a helicopter that might be a winner!!!



#9 Jaybee

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 13:24

Agreed on the AW, I think AW makes the sexiest looking products though I've heard they are maintenance "hogs"

 

I don't think they (Bell) will blow Robbies and Airbusses out of the water but there will be Bell die hards supporting the brand name. Not too keen on the engine choice either. Overall, I like it. Good step forward in a lot of ways.


"In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks." — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900. 
 
"The foot rests have a profound impact on the outcome of today's flight ending safely" - My flight instructor.

#10 Wally

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 15:19

The 206 looked good, flew friendly, worked hard and was easy to fix. The last three are more important than the first one. Actually, I guess the last two are what sells it to operators...

Is that a pitot forward and below the pilot's door? That's going to be a problem.


Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#11 helipilotm

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 22:36

... Double tap

Edited by helipilotm, 26 February 2014 - 22:39.


#12 helipilotm

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 22:37

It is basically a EC-120 clone without some of the advantages like the fenestron or large rear storage. Bell really screwed up by using a TurboMecca engine since that is one complaint against the 120 and they missed the opportunity to offer a better power plant alternative.

That said, It looks like they nailed it with the 429. That is my dream ship to fly.


First off I think it's uglier than should be legal. Second point I would like to hear your opinion of why the fenestron is an advantage? I have around 1400 hours in 130's and around 100 in 120's and have never in those 1500 hours said man I'm so glad to have a fenestron!

I will give you credit about the Turbomeca... In the 120. I don't understand where the hate for Turbomeca comes from. I love them, all of the mechs I know love them. Yeah parts can be hard to get at times from them. The same can be said about any other manufacturer. My only concern is operating costs, price point and ease of maintenance. If they miss one of those it's a bust! As much as I hate to say it because my all time favorite ship is a 407 but Bell is turning into a has been...

#13 McGavin

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 00:01

First off I think it's uglier than should be legal. Second point I would like to hear your opinion of why the fenestron is an advantage? I have around 1400 hours in 130's and around 100 in 120's and have never in those 1500 hours said man I'm so glad to have a fenestron!

I will give you credit about the Turbomeca... In the 120. I don't understand where the hate for Turbomeca comes from. I love them, all of the mechs I know love them. Yeah parts can be hard to get at times from them. The same can be said about any other manufacturer. My only concern is operating costs, price point and ease of maintenance. If they miss one of those it's a bust! As much as I hate to say it because my all time favorite ship is a 407 but Bell is turning into a has been...


I like the Fenestron and have never spoke with a pilot who dislikes the design (unlike the notar). I would suspect its popularity isn't just in my circles since Eurocopter is trying to slap a Fenestron on just about every model. It's quieter and safer. I have also noticed from my time in a EC120 & EC135 that it has a very stable tail rotor effectiveness. The design must help protect from turbulent air including the quartering wind that causes main rotor interference. Maybe it's just my experience, but I have much more confidence in confined areas with a EC120 over a MD500. I personally think the Fenestron looks pretty bad a$$ (especially on the EC145).

Turbomeca? All I will say is that my boss isn't too happy about 6 months and 300k+ for an Arrius overhaul. Don't like it? Too bad. Not a deal breaker, but I would take an Allison or P&W over Turbomeca any day.

I don't want to sound like a Eurocopter fanboy and to be fair, I'm trying to get my boss to upgrade to a 407 or 429 as we speak. I just don't see the 505 offering anything I couldn't find in a EC120 or a R-66 and it appears they are following, not leading with this new design.
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#14 alexc

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 19:41

So what's the consensus here ?

 

I really like it except the....    skids....   I really hope someone at Bell does something about the skid design before they put this out in the marketplace. I'm sure it functions fine but man it just looks so dainty and out of place.

 

Agree. Bell 505 looks like a cockroach or rat because of the skids (too far back), hope they will change it in production. 



#15 Spike

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 16:47

I’d like to think the story goes something like this…..

 

A Bell head-honcho decides to develop a light-single turbine with an initial price point below $1M. From there, he assembled the design team who was tasked with the project and ordered to keep the design purchase price below $1M….. Months later, the team assembles for a meeting with the head-honcho for a project update…. The news wasn’t good.  The team says the project is undoable at the target price of $1M. The head-honcho listens and ends the meeting. As the team arrives at work the next day, they find a R66 parked on the front lawn.  The head-honcho says, if they can do it for $900K, so can we….. We’re Bell Helicopter for Christ’s sake……

 

On the true story side…..

 

While attending a HeliExpo a few years ago, I had the pleasure of a brief conversation with Ms. Lyn Tilton as she signed an autograph. I proposed MD dumb down a 500 with a return to the 4 bladed system (ala 500C), “V” tail, low skid gear, basic instrument cluster, and removal of the 2 rear seats in order to bridge the turbine experience training gap….. Her replay was, there was no way she’d dare compete with Frank Robinson…….

 

Bell should’ve just dumbed down the original 206. Shoot, they could’ve reacquired old straight 206B’s airframes and refurbished and resold them for under $1M……..


Edited by Spike, 01 March 2014 - 16:49.


#16 palmfish

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 12:52

Porsche realized in the early 90's that they needed to stop hand-building cars and go to mass production to become profitable. It took them the better part of the decade to build the infrastructure and manufacturing that would allow them to compete and grow in the next millenium.

 

The result of all their labor was a much maligned, water-cooled 911 and the inexpensive and poorly built Boxster. Everyone saw it as the death knell for Porsche. But guess what? Porsche couldnt build enough of them and over the following 10 years Porsche improved and refined the cars and they were once again worthy of the Porsche name.

 

These new cars (and the investment in the new manufacturing processes) saved Porsche.


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#17 heligirl03

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 19:23

Palmfish must have spoken to the same Bell rep I did. It's not the 206 itself they wanted to get rid of, it's the archaic, expensive manufacturing materials and process that forced them to redesign the airframe to financially fit into the contemporary light single market. I have little Bell flight experience but I have to believe if they are committed to staying in the game, they'll figure out how to make the 505 competitive in more than just price point.

#18 Mikemv

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 19:26

I received an email today stating that they had 100 letters of intent to purchase the 505.



#19 Nearly Retired

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 02:25

My friend Brandon, who was at the show and saw the flashy unveiling of the 505 chastised me for being critical of the new ship.  He says it addresses the weaknesses that the 206 has.  The cabin is finally big enough for five people, something that really couldn't be said of the 206B unless they were five Japanese people.  And you had wedge windows all around.

 

And I agree.

 

But, as I've stated, I think moving the transmission back behind the cabin is a HUGE mistake.  I think moving the fuel filler to the left side is a huge mistake.  I think the tube-steel frame (reminiscent of a Bell 47) is a huge mistake.  I think the doors are a huge mistake (which will probably be changed on the production version).

 

I especially don't like the shape of the fuselage.  If you look at the ship in profile, you can see that it has about as much area in front of the mast as it does behind (area, not length).  This does not bode well for its stability and handling characteristics.  Eurocopter found this out with the Astar, which has a similar profile.  You want your helicopter to tend to streamline into the relative wind, like an arrow.  But with designs like the 505, the area in front of the mast can have a destabilizing effect on lateral stability.  Ask Shawn Coyle!  He wrote about it. 

 

Then some nitwit took me to task on Facebook.  The guy, who clearly has little understanding of how helicopters work, claimed that Bell probably knows more about designing helicopters than I do and has probably figured out how to solve the thorny weight and balance issues that having the transmission behind the cabin would normally produce.  He suggested that Bell probably used newer, lighter composites in the nose/cabin to make it lighter than the composite nose/cabin of the 206.  Genius!

 

What he fails to consider is that what's important is the *change* of c.g. from empty to full.  With the 206B it simply was not a problem: You had to work hard to get a 206B out of c.g.  On the last 206B I flew, with nobody but me onboard (and full fuel) I could put 100 pounds in the baggage compartment and still be in c.g.  The 505 will do better than this because the baggage compartment is right under the mast.

 

Alternately, with no baggage and minimum fuel, I could put myself and a 240-pound guy up front of my last JetRanger, PLUS three 200 pounders in the back seat and still be in c.g.  (Admittedly, three 200-pounders in the back seat of a 206 would be a squeeze - although I've done it.)  I can almost guarantee you that you won't be able to do that in a 505.

 

So is Bell aiming the 505 at the tour market?  If they are, I'll be interested to see how it performs.

 

I did notice that Bell provided very sketchy data on the 505.  No empty weight, no max-gross weight...just a bunch of vague marketing numbers that don't mean anything to me.

 

All of the above cause me, an experienced helicopter pilot, to have concerns.  Do I "hate" the new 505?  No.  I'm just not convinced that it is a "newer, better" 206.  Perhaps they shouldn't have used the "JetRanger" name at all, because it clearly will not be a 206...maybe not even a worthy descendant.  (Hey, there's a thought!  Maybe Lyn could hire me to do a pilot report on the 505 for Vertical Magazine!  I mean, I'm not so easily impressed anymore.  Nah...on second thought he'd probably be afraid that I'd say something stupid about it and piss Bell off.)

 

When I explained all these things to Brandon, he understood that when looking at "new" aircraft you have to look a little deeper than just some fancy sheet metal, colorful paint, a flashy intro presentation and nonspecific performance promises.  I just want to know why the dummies moved the fuel filler to the "copilot" side!


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#20 Wally

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:39

I hadn't even considered CG. That is an issue with the Astar, everything is except the aft baggage compartment is at center or forward of it, especially the cabin. Configure the empty aircraft for maximum cabin weights and you make it tail heavy, so that an empty cabin and significant weight in that aft bay would put you out of aft cg.


Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...





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