The Bell 430 is a major redesign of the Bell 230. It has a four-bladed rotor, a stretched cabin, upgraded Rolls-Royce 250 series engines, an upgraded transmission and a higher takeoff gross weight.
Although the Bell 430 has its roots in the Bell 222 that was launched in the second half of the 1970s, there are so many differences as to make the Bell 430 a new design. By the late 1980s, it was clear that the days of two-bladed rotors were numbered. Bell had been developing a new four-bladed, bearingless, hingeless, composite rotor system on its Model 680 technology demonstrator. This advanced rotor system became the heart of the dynamic system for the Bell 430. In addition, the Bell 430 made the switch from electro-mechanical gauges to electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) for both flight and engine/system instruments. Features carried over from the Bell 230 included the choice of retractable wheeled landing gear or fixed skid gear, use of Rolls-Royce 250 series engines and most of the systems.
The Bell 430 uses a four-bladed rotor with composite rotor blades mounted on elastomeric bearings. The engines used on the Bell 430 are the Rolls-Royce 250-C40B with full FADEC control. A two-bladed tail rotor provides directional control. The cabin provides two compartments and has been stretched 18 inches in the passenger compartment when compared with the cabin of the 222 and 230. The pilot compartment seats two and the passenger cabin seats up to eight. The fuselage is made of conventional aluminum alloys. The passenger cabin is available in three basic configurations. One is a corporate interior with two comfortable seats facing aft and a three-place bench facing forward. The second, the utility configuration, has three forward-facing seats rows (two with three seats and one with two seats). The third configuration is for EMS operators. This configuration puts two stretchers, two medical attendants and medical gear in the cabin. Single and dual pilot IFR certification was available as an option.
Development of the Bell 430 was initiated in 1991. First flight took place in 1994 and certification to the standards of FAR 29 was obtained in 1996, as was IFR and Category A certification. The aircraft has been in production since 1996. The Bell 430 is assembled in Montreal, Canada.