Bell Helicopter’s newly launched 427 was a disappointment. It didn’t sell. It didn’t sell firstly because it was rather cramped for a luxury helicopter and, secondly, it offered a concept of luxury, which was frankly rather dated - all lacquered wood and plush leather at a time, when other product sectors (cars for one) were exploring more contemporary and premium expressions for luxury.
Bell asked us to rethink the passenger experience entirely, from interior design and modularity to ergonomics and noise insulation. We started by
slicing through the all-composite shell both ahead of and behind the rotor, adding new sections to create more space for both passengers and pilots (this later enabled an upgrade to the latest digital instrumentation).
The interior needed to be flexible, so customers could choose their own fabrics and features. With that in mind, our designers began sourcing luxury materials, researching the latest lifestyle touches and redesigning every detail in a more ergonomic way.
A world away from its predecessor, the 427i is a ‘Bentley of the skies’. A contemporary expression of luxury, appointed with high-end tech and subtle design handshakes to give passengers a premium experience — from glowing logo insets to saddle-stitched leather seats, customizable lighting, DVD screens and button-controlled champagne drawers.
Bell launched the 427i at the 2004 Helicopter Association International HELI-EXPO in Las Vegas. Usually, they’d expect one or two orders at this type of event. Thanks to the new design, they sold an unprecedented 11. Since then we’ve also helped evolve the 427i interior into the naturally longer-hulled Bell 429, with corporate, standard, EMS and utility variants going into production.