One of the most surprising announcements coming out of Heli-Expo this week was the introduction of a new turbine version of the Bell 47 — the 47GT-6 from Scott’s-Bell 47 — a company that also refers to itself as SB47. The new version of the 1940s bubble-canopy helicopter design will be based on Bell’s 47G-3B-2A and will be powered by Rolls-Royce’s RR300 engine, providing a maximum of 300 shp and 240 max continuous hp.
The engine will be mounted at approximately 45 degrees to prevent debris ingestion, said Don Maguire, SB47’s director of customer support and service. The RR300 provides good performance, reliability and a low operating cost with a fuel burn of less than 24 gph, according to SB47.
In addition to the new engine, updated avionics products such as Aspen’s EFD1000H and Garmin’s touch-screen navigators will be available for the 47GT-6. Other improvements include composite main rotor blades, LED exterior lighting and new interior offerings. The max gross weight will remain at 3,200 pounds.
Maguire said the company has secured the funding required to complete the STC through several independent financiers and the company expects to start delivering the 47GT-6 in 2016. An introductory price has been set at $750,000 with a zero price escalation until 2016. After the end of March, SB47 expects to increase the price to approximately $820,000 in 2016 dollars.
Scott’s-Bell 47 was formed in 2009. The company acquired the type certificate for the Bell 47 and began to provide what SB47 refers to as “OEM level support” for the existing Bell 47 fleet. SB47 will produce the 47GT-6 at a recently acquired 200,000-square-foot facility near the SB47 headquarters and its sister company Scott’s Helicopter Services, which provides various helicopter services such as sightseeing, aerial photography, executive transport and agricultural services in Le Sueur, Minnesota.