Third test aircraft for Bell 525 program

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A third flight test helicopter was added to the Bell 525 Relentless testing program on April 22 in Amarillo, Texas, USA, when the aircraft took its first flight. The company is working toward type certification and its first customer deliveries in 2017.

Flight Test Vehicle-3 (FTV-3) is said to carry more flight test instrumentation for its lifting tests portion of the program. Bell says FTV-3 will be testing pylon pull, electromagnetic environmental effects (E3), boosted and cockpit controls proof load, and carrying out a full load level survey.

Before going to the Bell XworX facility in Arlington, Texas, the FTV-3 will carry out a number of flights from Amarillo to pass some key test points, said the company.

The test fleet has logged over 300 flight hours and completed more test points than Bell expected at this stage of the new aircraft program, and the type has flown above 200kts (370km/h). The test program aims to reach 1,500 hours before certification.

“FTV-3 is different from other flight test vehicles by being heavily instrumented and will undergo the strenuous load level survey,” said a Bell spokeswoman, who also confirmed that FTV-4 and FTV-5 will be delivered later in 2016.

April 29, 2016

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