For Bell Helicopter, this week’s Heli-Expo 2017 conference was a chance to use some home field advantage. That included a large presence at the Dallas Convention Center, several solid sales announcements and, best of all, flights for media and prospective buyers from the Dallas Vertiport downtown.
Bell, headquartered in Fort Worth, invited the Observer for a trip over the Trinity River in a Bell 429. The company markets them to police and medical flight customers, as well as high-end luxury customers. The 529 we rode in had a VIP configuration — lots of room for luggage, a sound dampening shell cocooning the passengers and many comfy seats. The flight involved some smooth handling, a distinct lack of expected vibration and an air-to-air encounter with another Bell helicopter on a demo flight.