DENVER, March 4, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Air Methods Corporation (Nasdaq:AIRM), the global leader in air medical transportation, and Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE:TXT), announced today an agreement for the sale of 200 Bell 407GXPs configured for Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS). This order marks one of the largest commercial sales in Bell Helicopter's history and one of the largest orders in the industry's history. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2016 with a 10 year contract term, which is subject to an early termination right by Air Methods.

"Bell Helicopter has been a long term supporter of our operations, and we could not be more pleased to continue our partnership," said Aaron Todd, chief executive officer, Air Methods. "We rely heavily on our aircraft to support our promise of giving more tomorrows, and given the capabilities and performance of the Bell 407GX, it is the right fit for our needs."

Established in 1980 in Colorado, Air Methods is the most experienced air medical operator in the industry. The company began with a single Bell 206 helicopter and has since grown to have approximately 300 bases of operations that serve 48 states. Air Methods provides air medical transportation for hospitals and communities nationwide and operates eight maintenance centers.

"We take great pride in our collaboration with Air Methods and our support of their life-saving services for more than 30 years with our state-of-the-art helicopters," said John Garrison, president and chief executive office of Bell Helicopter. "This order demonstrates their ongoing trust in Bell Helicopter, and we are absolutely thrilled to have them as our launch customer for the Bell 407GXP."

All of the Bell 407GXPs will be equipped with United Rotorcraft emergency medical services interior, designed with air critical care operators in mind. The adaptable interior can accommodate a single patient or specialty transport, and includes the Articulating Loading System for easy patient loading. The United Rotorcraft interior also provides integrated medical systems such as medical oxygen, suction, air, storage, electrical power, and approved provisions for securing medical support equipment during all aspects of flight.

"In highly critical situations, you have to be able to rely on your aircraft to perform, and that's what the Bell 407GXP offers by integrating reliability, speed, performance and advanced technology," said Anthony Moreland, vice president of sales in North America. "The Bell 407 is our most popular platform for HEMS missions, and the newly-upgraded Bell 407GXP variant will only further increase customer demand for this aircraft."

Bell Helicopter has been a trustworthy partner with the HEMS industry since its inception and continues to support the world's growing need for time-sensitive medical transportation services and access to critical care by providing safe and reliable aircraft. It is for that reason emergency medical service agencies around the world rely on Bell Helicopter products.

Derived from the Bell 407GX platform, the Bell 407GXP has an additional 50 lbs (22.5 kg) of payload capability, coupled with the new M250 Rolls-Royce engine that improves performance and fuel efficiency delivering class leading hot and high performance. The aircraft is also equipped with new avionics features such as a hover performance calculator improvement, as well as a transmission TBO extension of +500 hours that will lower maintenance costs.

Air Methods Corporation ( is the global leader in air medical transportation. The Air Medical Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services in the United States. The United Rotorcraft Division specializes in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. The Tourism Division is comprised of Sundance Helicopters, Inc. and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, which provides helicopter tours and charter flights in the Las Vegas/Grand Canyon region and Hawaii, respectively. Air Methods' fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features over 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellations or deferrals of orders.

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CONTACT: Trent J. Carman, Chief Financial Officer, (303) 792-7591

Air Methods Corporation