Textron, Inc. – parent company of Bell Helicopters, receives glowing reviews
The aviation industry is comprised of a group of individuals who possess an almost fanatical sense of loyalty to their aircraft, their gear, and their lifestyle. That said, this group also demands a lot of their airplanes and helicopters, and the series of annual surveys that are put forth by aviation industry groups are telling. When it comes to these anonymous product support surveys, the truth comes out – deep-rooted loyalties or not. In the most recent round of annual surveys, Bell Helicopters received top ratings from several of the industry’s most respected survey groups – notably, Aviation International News and Rotor and Wing Excellence Ratings.
What are the highest-ranking categories for Bell Helicopters?
Bell Helicopters, and parent company Textron, Inc., have a lot to be proud of in terms of the annual rating results from Aviation International News (AIN) and Rotor and Wing. Bell Helicopters excelled in several categories – posting top of class feedback in overall safety ratings, technical manuals, technical reps, and AOG (aircraft on ground). Any helicopter pilot can appreciate the overall safety-rating factor, and Bell has posted impressive results over the past few years and has cemented itself as a leader in reliability and durability.
The AIN survey also showcased Bell’s ability to minimize serious mechanical issues that are severe enough to keep the helicopter (aircraft) on the ground (AOG). Quality build philosophies and abundant and economical access to parts is a hallmark of Bell helicopters. Bell also scored well in the technical manual section, which demonstrates Bell’s commitment to keeping Bell aircraft flying safely throughout the usable service life of the copter. Finally, Bell scored exceptionally well regarding their fleet of technical reps. In fact, Bell has even deployed a mobile service truck in the Florida area (in conjunction with sister company Cessna) to quickly address any service issues in the area. This pilot program may see additional implementation based on the results of the program.
Based on the AIN survey alone, Bell Helicopters scored a full point better than the next three survey helicopter makers – Augusta Westland, Sikorsky, and Eurocopter. These makers all averaged a ‘7.1’ on a 1-10 scale, while Bell scored an ‘8.1’ overall.
The 2013 Rotor and Wing Annual survey delivered similar results as the AIN survey – with Bell taking top honors in 7 out of 9 categories. Bell led the way in overall aircraft reliability and satisfaction, and led the way in technical support, customer support, and in technical innovations. In fact, the Rotor and Wing survey drives home the point that the standard rating parameters for any aircraft – fuel consumption, total operating costs, time between major overhauls, fuel range, etc., are important – but oftentimes the intangibles of the manufacturer swing the purchase decision. Bell is known as a top aviation company in terms of customer satisfaction, product innovation, availability of parts, affordability of parts, and low occurances of AOG (aircraft on ground) situations.
Annual rating surveys are important to those in the aviation industry as they shed light on several of the less tangible differences among aviation companies. Product knowledge can generally be gleaned from a product brochure, but it takes more than a glossy album of pictures and specifications to clue a buyer in to the customer service and technical support proficiencies of an organization. Bell has continued to operate in a manner that garners top ratings from the majority of pilots and industry professionals who interact with Bell products on a frequent basis.