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Aircraft Review : Bell 407 by Dreamfoil Creations


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Aircraft Review : Bell 407 by Dreamfoil Creations
Routes : KEYW Key West, USA : Circuits
The latest creation from Dreamfoil is their Bell 407. Dreamfoil Creations have got quite a track record in producing really brilliant helicopters and the Bell 407 is no exception. Their Jetranger Bell 206 B3 was excellent and the Eurocopter AS350 B3 was a level above in design and features, and here in the 407 you are flying with a master at work.


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It is not only the basic design and flying capabilities that are very good here by Dreamfoil Creations, but also the complete interaction with the simulator itself in the way the menu's and the sounds are a level above anything else...  everything is so well put together to create a very good simulation experience.
Bell 407
In 1993, Bell began the development of the  "New Light Aircraft" project as a replacement for its very successful Model 206 series. The program resulted in the 407 a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter. It is a development of Bell's LongRanger. A 206L-3 which was modified to serve as the 407 demonstrator. The demonstrator used hardware for the 407 and added molded fairings to represent the 407's wider fuselage that was then under development.
The demonstrator was first flown on April 21, 1994, and the 407 program was publicly announced at the Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 1995. The first 407 prototype (C-GFOS) accomplished its maiden flight on June 29, 1995, and the second prototype (C-FORS) followed on July 13, 1995. After a short development program, the first production 407 (C-FWQY/N407BT) flew on November 10, 1995.
The Bell 407 features the four-blade main rotor developed for the United States Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior (Model 406). The blades and hub use composite construction without life limits, and provide better performance and a more comfortable ride. The 407's fuselage is 8 inches (18 cm) wider, increasing internal cabin space, and includes main cabin windows that are 35% larger. The more powerful Rolls-Royce/Allison 250-C47 turboshaft allows an increase in Maximum Takeoff Weight and improves performance at hotter temperatures and/or higher altitudes.
The 407's airframe is generally similar to the LongRanger, but includes a carbon fiber composite tailboom. The helicopter has standard seating for two crew and five cabin seats.
The 407 was certificated by Transport Canada on February 9, 1996, with the FAA following shortly after on February 23. Full production began in 1996 at Bell's Mirabel, Quebec, Canada plant and they produced 140 airframes in 1997, to fill the initial orders.
In 1995, Bell tested a shrouded tail rotor on the 407, but did not proceed with that concept. And for a time Bell studied in developing the Model 407T as a twin-engine variant, but instead chose to develop the essentially all new twin PW206D powered Bell 427. Bell began deliveries of the 407 in 1996. The 1,000th 407 helicopter was delivered on June 15, 2010.
Performance : Maximum speed: 140 knots (260 km/h) - Cruise speed: 133 knots (152 mp/h, 246 km/h) - Range: 324 nmi (372 mi, 598 km) - Service ceiling: 18,690 ft (5,698 m)

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The 407 does feel a full size larger than the JetRanger 206, It is larger of course but it is in the sense of the 206 felt quite venerable and small. The 407 is wider and that makes it more of a complete machine. Design work by Dreamfoil Creations is simply excellent. The aircraft is so well crafted you can't really call this a model, but a replica of the real aircraft. This shows the quality of design we now have today in simulation. As you have to get really close now to see the edge of the 3d modelling, and the glass with reflections is perfect.
Dreamfoil noted that the textures were very big sizes and you would need to be careful with your texture resolution?  But I didn't find that an issue at all...  I could easily have the texture res set at "Too Much" and still have 35fr-60fr running and that gave me tons of headspace. In fact I could even run with the HDR on, and that is an unusual rarity for me.
So the frame-rate is very good, but only on "extreme" do the liveries come really sharp, in any other setting they are very slightly stepped. But that is fine in most cases, as the good frame-rate is so good not to waste.
Rotor Detail

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The main rotor linkages and plates are simply superb, full movement and complete axis movement throughout the changing of the position of the cyclic. You can specify if you want the Framn Damper on or off (Above)


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As noted the head design is similar to the one on the OH-58D. I will note that when I first flew the 407, my Saitek X52 did not connect with the main pitch and roll axis of the main rotor (yaw with the tailrotor was fine?), but a reset of the joystick fixed the issue (but not before cartwheeling me into the scenery!)
The four Blades are Textron composite structures. On the real 407 you can now have an aftermarket blade-folding kit that pulls two blades forward and two blades to the rear.



The tailrotor design is very simple at first glance, but look again again as the detailing is first rate.
The fuselage is very complete, with perfect sunken riveting and you can ideally see the separate panels that go into making up the aircraft. Engine inlets and grills are well executed and dirtied down, but there is not much soot on the high positioned exhaust. The boom tail and rear tailplanes are well completed.

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All four doors open from the inside latches, Two standard on the right and a huge double connected full rear cabin swing door on the left. When open it makes it hard for the Co-Pliot to use his door. You can choose if you want a full plate glass (long) version or the standard windows. I really like the full glass version, it makes working the hover far easier. You can open a rear storage compartment and a strange animation simulation of opening that large left-rear door and slipping into the rear left seat of the 407. These can both be accessed from the outside, but the minute triangles can be hard to use or even find.

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Internally you have 4 + 1 plush seats leather club seating arrangement in the rear and two leather seats up front for the pilot and Co-Pilot or front seat passenger. the interior is kitted out with full luxury detailing and wood grain door jams. But you only have one version, there is no medical or five seater arrangements.
The menus (SmartMenus) are quite comprehensive and a really great and quick system to accessing the details of the aircraft.



The menus are accessed by pressing on the right-top of the main instrument panel. This brings up a circular dial of choices. Noted is the version of the aircraft and Dreamfoil's website.
The menus consist of - SmartLivery - Quick Views - Volume - FOV - Customize - Stability and report.
We will jump straight to "Customize" here to finish off the exterior items.



In reality this is a two-step menu. The first click gives you - And external GPU (Ground Power Unit) - Garmin 430 - Tie-Down/Caps - Rotor Shadows and the External Menu (we will come back to the Garmin 430 setting in a minute)

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The"External Menu" opens out to a smorgasbord of choices. Here you can add or take away items to your hearts delight, top of the list is...
A very nice bright red - GPU (Ground Power Unit). Which must be connected to start the Bell 407.
Then you have the choice of "high" or "low" skid?

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The optional Float version has to be the "High" version, when the "float" option is selected from the EXT Menu. The "High" version is also required to use the "Left" or "Right" optional baskets.
Other options include - the earlier noted items of - Framn Damper - Glass Doors. with - Door V/Windows -Wire cutters - and very nice set of rotor Tie Downs, Caps and Tags - Rotor Shadows - And Battery Compartment.

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Here you can open the front battery compartment and disconnect the power supply, to stop any battery drain. The Battery compartment can be accessed from the outside like the luggage door (still hard to find) and the whole EXT Menu can be used outside the aircraft. Also notable is how you refuel the aircraft...  Touch the Fuel Inlet Cap and a fuel inlet will display the refueling pie menu and a fuel tank. Adjust the pie to gauge how much fuel you want to install the helicopter, click to finish.

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Cockpit design is simply first-rate, overwhelmingly well done. The main bulky towering instrument panel is very well completed and everything is switchable and usable. On top are the banks of warning lights and test switches.
A set of CAUTION/WARNING LT- LCD test and Horn Mute buttons (Thank God)
Then you can pretty well divide the instruments and gauges to aircraft systems to the left and flying istruments to the right. Left includes - CLOCK/VOLTIMETER - TORQUE INDICATOR - FUEL PSI / AMPS - MGT (MEASURED GAS TEMPERATURE) - FUEL QTY - (Engine) NG - XMSN OIL PSI / TEMP - ENG OIL PSI / TEMP
On the overhead panel are the standard power and lighting switches, a great turn-dial for all the instrument and overhead panel lighting. The Rotor Brake is recommended for use under 40% of NR, but I usually go down to 25% of NR to be safe. For once the "Circuit Breakers" are not there for show...  They actually work!  They cover - NAV/COMM LIGHTS - INSTR - GENERATOR - ENGINE CONTROLS - ENGINE INSTR - FUEL - XMSN INSTR.
You have a choice on the lower panel in the selection radios via the menu panel.

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Either the Garmin GNS430 or the standard default radios. All radio COMM/NDB/TRANSPONDER sets are pretty basic. It will be very useful if Dreamfoil Creations installed the new GNS340 coming in X-Plane v10.40


This version would give you at least some navigation tools with VOR2 that is not available here.



The collective has working switches that arm and activate the floats, start switch and a rolling power ring that can change your engine settings from FULL to IDLE and OFF. To get OFF you have to press the button above the ring to click it off. You can start the 407 by either MAN (Manual) or full AUTO (FADEC) engine start. Starting can be slightly annoying in that if you miss the 60sec timer you have to wait and start again, then there is no Checklist and so you don't know if you have got every switch or procedure correctly.



Those lovely hanging headphones are a treat as well. When hung you get the full sound of the start, running and shutdown of the aircraft, click them and they mute the cockpit sounds...  brilliant.   All round the cockpit is a pretty amazing place to be, very functional as even the vents (move) and side windows can be opened and closed. All the beautiful rudder and cyclic controls are also well created and are perfectly realised.
Other Menu Items

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9 preset views inside and out of the machine...  my favorite is the dash cam!
VOL (Volume) and POV (Point of View)

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Set the aircraft's volume % and find the best POV % in the pilots seat.

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You can adjust your - ROLL - YAW - PITCH to your liking in %. ARCADE mode centre's the cyclic to the dead centre and makes the aircraft easier to fly for novices, personally I found I didn't need this function, the aircraft is quite stable to fly even with it switched off...  but if you need the extra guiding hand. RIGID CRUISE is a new feature to help you hold the aircraft in position over a long flight, but be careful because if you switch it on and the aircraft is slightly going down or up it will keep going in the same direction, but a great saving grace over a distance.



The "Report" menu item is an engineering logbook of your flying. You can reset all the parameters except your crashes!... Yes you have to face those. All reports are kept with a selected livery. You can also reset the "Floats" here as well, if not they keep inflating every time you select floats or start up.
I have left the "SmartLivery" menu to last. In selecting it will give you a choice of each one of your liveries. You can spin around the dial and select which one you want to use.

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There are eleven liveries including the default Blue and a paint White. There are no branded livieries or noted registrations on the tail-boom.


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The Bell 407 is a very comprehensive aircraft. The menus are very versatile but also very easy to use and that gives you easy access to the aircraft.
Flying the Bell 407
A quick first flight is to show how the floats operate.

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It becomes very quickly apparent on how easy the aircraft is to fly. No fighting the controls or any severe thrust from the tail yaw. You can control the 407 very easily in all directions. The transition to forward flight is seemless and you don't have to overwork the controls, I did find you could roll in sharp kinks left or right if you didn't get your side movements very smooth, settle down and get the right smooth slight turns and the aircraft comes alive.

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Under your thumb on the cyclic you have a small menu that allows you to adjust the Cyclic Friction and the Trim (centre). I however recommend to set up a keyboard setup for the trim, Dreamfoil Creations notes on how to do this in the manual.


The instruments are very good just slightly below your eye line to the left, although the single altitude pointer on the ATTITUDE INDICATOR needs to be carefully monitored. There is also an "Airspeed Actuated Pedal Stop" (AAPS) which acts to automatically restrict pedal input during cruise flight, while allowing maximum pedal authority for low airspeed and hovering flight. The Airspeed Actuated Pedal Stop will restrict left pedal range of travel by -25% when airspeed is greater than 55 KIAS and will restore full pedal authority when airspeed falls below 50 KIAS and prevents the tail rotor to achieve maximum flapping condition where it would enter in contact with vertical stabilizer causing a catastrophic failure of tail rotor and the vertical stabilizer.

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A few passes gave me the best point to test out the flotation device on the aircraft, and now or when required and make sure the floats are armed then press the "red" button on the collective. Instantly the floats will inflate.

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Holding the hover was a very easy and a very light touch saw the aircraft floating quite happily, You can easily navigate by using the yaw of the tail trust to turn the aircraft in the direction you want to go. But flying there is far easier.
Returning to KEYW, the aircraft was quick and covered the ground very fast at a top speed of 140knts, coming back into auto-rotation it was very easy to transition from a little side-slip into the hover and then easily maneuver the aircraft to the right parking position and land with no great dramatic shifts that can catch you unaware with the extra power going to the yaw on the tail-rotor. the aircraft is very easily controlled in the yaw and is steady in the hover...  The 407 makes it all quite too easy.

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The 407 doesn't have any extensive lighting on the aircraft. Two lights in the nose (switch is on the collective) and the standard Navigation lights and one Anti-Collision light high up on the tail. There is a very effective strobe right on the tail boom that works extremely well in the HDR mode.

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There are two lighting items inside the aircraft. One for the real cabin (One switch - all lights and no spot) and a blue spot light set up behind the pilots that casts a blue gaze over the instrument panel. It is awkward to turn on or off as well.
All the panel lighting is very good (with the large selection of warning lights) and so is the overhead panel in an adjustable green tinge.

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So the 407 a soothing place to fly at night. As noted I found I could easily run the HDR with full lighting on with this aircraft. That is very rare with my system so I am very impressed. There are however no optional lights or searchlights attached to the aircraft.

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X-Plane as a simulator does not have a big collection of helicopters in the payware sphere. However the ones the simulator does have are extremely good and very detailed. Almost any choice from the BKK-117, Virtavia/Dawson Design Sea King, Jetranger Bell 206 B3, Eurocopter AS350 B3 and the excellent S-92 by DMO Flight Design are all worthy of your investment. And the Bell 407 by Dreamfoil Creations is certainly a worthy investment to join them up there at the top of the best of the best.
The initial feeling is that the aircraft is so completely and masterly complete. nothing has been left to chance and everything is perfect in the design and has a large feature list (note: a checklist is now included in the release version). Every area is covered, sounds are first rate as Dreamfoil created the famous sound DreamEngine (note: to Window users as the DreamEngine requires Open-AL drivers to be installed on your computer for use) for 3d surround sound. and visually it is excellent. Excellent frame-rate even with HDR on or off is also easily achievable (very rare for me).
And if you want to be picky then there is only really one variant, with no medical or different role playing versions. And the liveries have no branded versions.
But you do have very good feature sets and the aircraft is very good to fly, if a little too easy for the absolute purists. And you don't really need any Arcade-mode hand holding here to fly it either, if you are new to vertical flight. Yes the basic's of vertical flight would still need to be learnt and you will need plenty practise, but you should master the 407 after only a short point of time. It is that well conceived... For the rest of us we can just get on and enjoy this fantastic aircraft and revel in the masters hands... It is that good.




Yes! the Bell 407 is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Bell 407
Price is US$34.95


Technical Requirements:
Windows, MAC or Linux - X-Plane 10.20 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. Joystick required
512Mb VRAM - 1GB VRAM Recommended

Current version: 1.0 Last updated: April 25th 2014
Support Thread : Bell 407
Download is a hefty 584.10meg to an expanded 642.80meg that is positioned in your X-Plane "helicopter" aircraft folder. Windows users require sound engine Open-AL drivers.
Documentation: post-2-0-48738000-1398408090.jpg

Manual is 24 pages and the FAQ is 2 Pages



Review by Stephen Dutton

25th April 2014
 Copyright © 2014 : X-Plane Reviews

Review System Specifications:
Computer System:     
- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”
- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3
- ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb
- Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.2
- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final)
- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

- KEYW Key West International by Fletcherj - free (KEYW Key West International Airport V1.0 )




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Guest Greg Miller

Nice review, well done!


I have a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro.  Will I be able to control the aircraft with that alone? 


If I program it for this A/C, will I have an issue getting back to fixed wing?





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Nice review, well done!


I have a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro.  Will I be able to control the aircraft with that alone? 


If I program it for this A/C, will I have an issue getting back to fixed wing?





Should be fine... however go to the Menu/Joysticks & Equipment to change your "Throttle" to "Collective".  And reverse it (tickbox)?


Why should you reverse...  It gives you more control pulling the throttle towards you than pushing it away. It is tight for you as unlike a separate throttle, yours is on the joystick itself...  but it should work fine.


Don't forget to change it back to "throttle" for flying aircraft (uncheck the tickbox as well). the yaw (left-right thrust) is your tailrotor thust.



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My airports are freeware but cannot be used for commercial use. I would have expected some request to say the least.

Nice helicopter. Front view with nothing would be nice.


All references to your work have been removed Fred, We are also not a commercial site but only a review site...  And I do the all the images the way they look best for the review.

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Guest Joseph Erik Mattern

Hi Fred,


Thank You for all of your time in creating and releasing an amazing aircraft in the Bell 407.


I purchased the aircraft Saturday Morning and flew it all weekend.


I wanted to suggest a Google Hangout (which I am happy to sponsor) on an ongoing basis that would allow us together as a group who primarily fly this aircraft to ask you questions and customize our settings for the Bell 407.


I am using an iMac 27" with a Logitech Freedom 2.4 wireless joystick and I look forward to logging many hours on the Bell 407.


All My Best,




Joe In Orlando Florida, USA





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