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Bell Model 400 « TwinRanger » and Model 440 project

Stargazer2006

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In February 1983, Bell announced the first of a new helicopter family, both commercial and military, single and twin-engined, the Model 400 TwinRanger. This seven-seat aircraft was in the 1800-2700kg gross weight class. The Model 400 was powered by two 443shp Allison 250-C20R turboshaft engines, had a four-blade soft-in-plane main rotor, an advanced technology transmission and drive system with 'run-dry' capability (similar to those of the Model 406).

The aircraft entered development in 1983 with wind-tunnel testing with a one-quarter scale model and flight testing of the dynamic components on a specially modified Model 206LM LongRanger (c/n 45003, N206N) which served as test-bed and flew in March 1983. This aircraft had the four-bladed OH-58D AHIP rotor, a strengthened tail boom, a ring guard tail rotor and a deepened fuselage to increase fuel capacity. The first prototype of the Model 400 (c/n 48001, N3185K) accomplished its maiden flight on 30 June, 1984. Three pre-production Model 400 TwinRangers (c/n 48002/ 48004) were built, the first of which (N3185L) flew for the first time on 4 July, 1985, the second (N3185U) in May and the third (N400BH) in June 1985. The first aircraft was later used as a ground test vehicle.

It was expected that the Canadian factory, at Mirabel, Montreal, would undertake production of the Model 400. Initially, the rotor heads, rotor blades, transmission and other components would have been manufactured at Fort Worth and shipped to Canada. The Canadian plant being responsible for the airframe, final assembly, flight testing and delivery. The first production example was expected to be rolled out during the final quarter of 1985 and certification was scheduled for August 1986 with first deliveries occurring in due course. Bell planned then to produce a hundred TwinRangers during 1986-87. In addition the Canadians were due to develop and manufacture the Model 400A, a variant of the Model 400 powered by a 1000shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW209T turboshaft engine, and the Model 440 which would have employed major composites components. The Model 440 was due to fly in 1988 with deliveries to customers in 1989. As for all previous Bell models, military variants of the Models 400/440 would have been developed to satisfy foreign customers.

Unfortunately, this programme has been suspended indefinitely pending a market situation that would support an annual sales rate of about 120 aircraft. The four existing aircraft have been cancelled from the register and put in storage by Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, at Mirabel.


Technical data:
  • Rotor diameter: 11.30 m
  • Overall length: 13.39 m
  • Length of fuselage: 11.02 m
  • Height overall: 3.56 m
  • Maximum take-off weight: 2495 kg
  • Empty weight: 1427 kg
  • Maximum speed: 278 km/h
  • Maximum cruising speed at 1525m: 244 km/h
  • Initial rate of climb: 464 m/min
  • Service ceiling: 6100 m
  • Hover ceiling outside ground effect: 3110 m
  • Hover ceiling in ground effect: 4360 m
  • Maximum range: 834 km
 

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walter

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Hi Stéphane :)
Thanks for the beautiful summary of the history of the 400 family. Was there also a planned 400CT (Combat Twin) military version with external cargo hook, provision for TOW missiles and/or minigun pods? Have you heard of that?
Regards, Walter
 

Stargazer2006

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walter said:
Hi Stéphane :)
Thanks for the beautiful summary of the history of the 400 family. Was there also a planned 400CT (Combat Twin) military version with external cargo hook, provision for TOW missiles and/or minigun pods? Have you heard of that?
Regards, Walter
Hadn't heard of it until now, but a quick internet search proves that Bell did indeed plan a 400 Combat Twin version. Thanks for the pointer!

Model 400 Combat Twin The Combat Twin is a twin-engined development of the JetRanger/LongRanger family. Military equipment would include a quick-change weapons system with an optional roof mounted sight, radar warning receiver, and infrared supression. Weapons options would include TOW, Stinger AAMs, and rocket/gun pods on two fuselage-side attachment points.
Source: Flight International, 1 August 1987
 

Apophenia

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Stéphane: A minor point. That 1000 shp PW209T for the Model 400A comprise two PW200 turbines driving a combining gear box à la Pratt & Whitney Canada's earlier PT6T Twin Pac concept.
 

Stargazer2006

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Apophenia said:
Stéphane: A minor point. That 1000 shp PW209T for the Model 400A comprise two PW200 turbines driving a combining gear box à la Pratt & Whitney Canada's earlier PT6T Twin Pac concept.
Point well taken, and remark now linked directly from the article.
 

hesham

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The Model-440;

http://archive.aviationweek.com/image/spread/19840116/82/2
 

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