Bell Helicopter is now aiming for certification of the new short light single model 505 Jet Ranger X in the first half of 2016. Following that, Bell plans a fast production ramp up to 200 helicopters per year by 2018, the company said. Bell had 354 letters of intent for 505s in December 2015. The three test aircraft completed 485 flight test hours and another 115 on the ground.
Flight test vehicle 1 (FTV1) finished flying in November and was being prepared for an endurance ground run in late December before being turned over to the Bell Academy as a maintenance trainer in February.
FTV2 is being outfitted with changes that improve its fatigue life and its ability to be manufactured according to the certification. Test flights will resume soon and it will continue flying as a long-term research and development aircraft.
FTV3 is flying right now, carrying out performance testing including for emergency egress and avionics certification and avionics thermal testing.
Initial certification approval of the Bell 505 should come from Transport Canada.
March 21, 2016