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Bell receives grant for new helicopter project

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Amarillo, Texas - Bell Helicopter recently unveiled its' newest masterpiece in Dallas, a commercial transport chopper designed for the oil and gas industry.

Spokesperson JJ Walker says, "We are aggressively pursuing the first flight of the Bell 525 Relentless in 2014 and after that we'll aggressively pursue certifications so that we can begin production."

Production will take place right here in Amarillo.

But in order to build the new helicopter, a new facility must be built first.

Walker explains, "We've decided the best thing for us to do is to have a new facility. It will be used for different things over time, and ultimately allow us to combine some of our operations in one place, to operate more efficiently."

That's where the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation comes in.

A $4 million investment was approved by the board Tuesday.

However, Bell and Textron will foot the bill of the actual construction of the facility, at a price tag of $22 million.

The new facility will sit on a piece of land directly across from the current Bell facility. The AEDC owns the property, which is why the company needed their approval for the project, as well as their monetary assistance to help prepare the land for construction.

But a new structure won't be the only thing to appear with the 525 Relentless project, so will many new cars in the parking lot.

Walker explains, "We do expect to have some creation of new jobs. We are expecting in the neighborhood of 100 and of course, any time there are new jobs there is an economic impact on this area."  

Bell hopes to get construction of the new facility underway later this year, and have it complete sometime next year.

The Relentless is the world's first super-medium transport helicopter that will feature 16 seats, 5 rotor blades, and room for two crew members.

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