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End of an era


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Fort Worth, Texas, (January 24, 2008) - Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced that it is optimizing its commercial product line to better serve its customer base and accelerate deliveries of its high-demand aircraft.




Bell is seeing tremendous demand for its 412, 407 and new 429 commercial products, and is taking steps to transform itself into a stronger, more streamlined company. Bell is increasing its production capacity while terminating production of its 206B3, 427, 430 and 210 helicopter models. All current customer commitments will be met through 2010. Like all Bell products, whether they are currently being manufactured or not, each of these models will continue to be supported by Bell's customer support network known around the world for its unparalleled service that keeps the industry's largest installed base flying everyday.




Bell President and CEO Dick Millman stated, “Our most recent analysis of the marketplace has indicated an increased demand for our 407 and 412 commercial helicopters, along with our outstanding new 429 model. We are fully booked on these models until 2010. Consequently, we are both significantly increasing our overall capacity - and eliminating production of some lower volume products. At the same time we are continuing to provide our number one rated customer support. We know that this is the best path forward to meet our customers' needs.”




Analysis of its internal structures has yielded a more strategic allocation of resources and real-time decision-making that Bell anticipates will enable it to deliver a larger number of commercial helicopters each year.




Bob Fitzpatrick, Bell's senior vice president for Marketing and Sales said, “When we looked at the marketplace, we identified important trends in the market segments we serve. The data validated that the capabilities of our most popular models, along with our new product offerings, are well matched to meet market needs and we expect will continue to ensure Bell's strong competitiveposition.




“Bell is a customer-focused company and we are aligning our capacity to fulfill our customer requirements as quickly as we can. The decision to eliminate these four products was difficult, but we feel our remaining product line-up along with new products in our development pipeline will benefit our customers and position the company for continued growth,” Fitzpatrick added.

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Maybe the R66 has played a part in this turn of events? Bell probably forecasted or anticipates some stiff competition in the light turbine market???? Like I said on another post. Seems multi-bladed helicopters are becoming more common place in the commercial world these days. Curious to see just how well the R66 will be received in the commercial end, probably pretty good, would be a fair guess.


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Sad to see it go. However, every company is looking for ways to make more money. You could have 20 guys on a line building a ship that sells for $1Million, or 20 guys on a line building a ship that sells for $4 Million. Which would you choose?


Yes, great news for Frank.



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