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Dazzling Bell 505 interiors

The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is a game-changing five-person light helicopter. Sleek and sporty on the outside, the 505 deserves an equally stylish yet functional interior to complement its sports car mystique–and that is precisely what Mecaer Aviation Group (MAG) has designed for it.

In fact, MAG has devised a range of four- and five-person interiors for the 505. Drawing on the ultra-luxurious interior the company created for the Bell 429 “MAGnificent” model, the 505 MAG interior combines premium leathers, fabrics, and finishes with an optional rear center cabinet that can be quickly removed and replaced with a fifth seat.

As well, the MAG 505 interior is discreetly loaded with an extensive variety of amenities. They include coat hooks, cup holders, smart device holders, stowage containers and pockets, an overhead passenger service unit, and adjustable mood and reading lights.

The MAG 505 interior color collection is offered in a palette of low-key whites, creams, greys, and blues. To add a higher level of distinction, MAG’s craftspeople can embroider personal and corporate logos into the 505’s headrests, and engrave them into the door thresholds.

Installation takes about a week, and can be performed at Bell’s production facility in Mirabel, Quebec, or at Mecaer completion centers in Philadelphia or Italy. (Kits can also be shipped to a customer-selected completion center.)

“Our Bell 505 interior is being offered as an option by Bell Helicopter,” said Grayson Barrows, MAG’s director of sales and marketing. “Many people thought that the original Bell 505 interior did not do justice to the beauty of this aircraft. So our design studio in Rome, Italy, drew upon our award-winning Bell 429 interior to give the 505 that ‘MAGnificent’ look.”

Among the details that make this Bell 505 interior so eye-catching are the addition of interior panels, low-pile carpeting, leather-wrapped flight control boots, and rounded seat edges “to get away from a utilitarian look,” said Barrows.

As befits MAG’s Italian design heritage, the 505’s MAG interior is a soothing combination of elegance and function. The same can also be said for the company’s third-generation In-Flight Entertainment Enhanced Lounge (I-FEEL) infotainment system, which can be installed in both rotary- and fixed-wing cabins.

I-FEEL combines multifunction in-flight entertainment (IFE) and cabin management systems (CMS) to produce a cohesive, easy-to-control experience. Its features include:

  • Audio systems (CD player, MP3, iPod);
  • Video systems (moving maps, hard disk and DVD player; laptop, and exterior cameras);
  • A built-in hard disk with memory to store and access audio and video files;
  • GSM and SatCom phone for private calls, conference calls and conference-plus-pilot calls;
  • Cabin functions (climate control, mood and reading lighting; speakers, limo window, and electrically-dimmable window shades);
  • Wi-Fi connectivity, including access to the web; and
  • Remote maintenance through diagnostics software.

The big feature of MAG’s third-generation I-FEEL is fast wireless access to Android and Apple smartphones, which can be used as control units for the entire I-FEEL system.

“As you enter the aircraft, the I-FEEL wireless system automatically connects to your smartphones, giving the passengers fast access to and control of various I-FEEL elements,” said Barrows.

To enable these faster sign-ons, the I-FEEL system uses near-field communications (NFC) between each user’s smartphone and a sensor mounted in the seat they are occupying.

Not only does this kind of NFC sign-in eliminate the need for passwords–just like using the ‘tap’ function on your credit card at a gas station payment terminal–but it allows the I-FEEL system to know who is sitting where, and what level of system access they are entitled to.

For instance, a passenger seated in the main cabin would have access to all of I-FEEL’s functions, while a crew member in the attendant seat would have limited access.

“With the I-FEEL system, you can start out in a business setting, practicing a presentation with audio-video aids as you fly towards your next meeting,” said Barrows.

“Later on, you can entirely change the lighting and sense of the cabin, setting up I-FEEL to play video games with your kids. Or turn on the video exterior cameras, and watch the world go by outside your helicopter.”

Despite adding all this extra capability, the third-generation I-FEEL system “is about 50 percent lighter than the previous generation,” said Barrows.

As well, this I-FEEL system is tough, with the ability to operate in temperatures ranging from -50 C to 75 C (-58 F to 167 F). Half its components are off-the-shelf products, allowing for easier servicing and component replacement.

The Bell 505 interior and third-generation I-FEEL infotainment system are just two of the stylish, cutting-edge products offered by Mecaer Aviation Group. The ethos that guides the creation of these products is summed up in MAG’s motto: “Design and style integrated with technology, to increase the safety, comfort and quality of every flight.”

Heli Tech Insight Magazine 2018

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