Military, Products

Rotorcraft Report: Testbed Crash Aggravates ARH Program Delays

By Staff Writer | April 1, 2007

PRODUCTS/AIRFRAMES

U.S. Army and Bell Helicopter officials are working on trying to recover the schedule for development and production of the Army’s ARH-70A armed reconnaissance helicopter following the Feb. 21 crash of a prototype.

Bell has submitted a plan to the Army to pursue the flight test program with just three prototypes after the fourth crashed just 30 min. into its first flight. The aircraft lost power and autorotated to the green of a golf course near Bell’s XworX development facility in Arlington, Texas. The pilots flew "a really good autorotation," a Bell official said. But the System Design and Development No. 4 aircraft (SDD 4) caught a landing skid tip on a slight rise in the soft ground and rolled on its side. Neither pilot was hurt, but the aircraft was totaled.

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The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash of the aircraft, which carries an N-number registration. The Bell program already had been struggling to overcome a delay of nearly a year.

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