Commercial, Personal/Corporate, Products, Public Service

525 Flight Slowed by Parts, Inspections

By Staff Writer | July 2, 2015

Emergency Medical Service, Executive Transport, Fire, Humanitarian, Observation/Patrol, Offshore, Police, Search and Rescue, Utility


Bell 525 Relentless makes first flight July 1 in Amarillo, Texas. Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter

Bell 525 Relentless makes first flight July 1 in Amarillo, Texas. Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter

Supply chain challenges and FAA inspection requirements slowed the maiden flight of Bell Helicopter’s 525 Relentless, the manufacturer says. The super-medium twin 525 flew for the first time July 1 at Bell’s Amarillo, Texas facility. Senior Flight Test Pilots Troy Caudill and Jeff Greenwood began with taxi tests and maneuvers, and then performed various hover maneuvers and low-speed handling quality tests. But Bell had aimed to fly the 525 by the end of 2014. “We set a very aggressive objective for first flight,” given the complex design of the all-new, fly-by-wire 525, Bell President/CEO John Garrison said at last month’s Paris Air Show. “What’s pacing the development effort really has been supply chain activity.” He added that certification and conformity inspections contributed to the delay. Before the first flight of any new U.S. civil helicopter can occur, an applicant for a type certificate must certify to the FAA that the test aircraft conforms fully with the design originally proposed (and approved by the FAA) at the start of the certification process. Garrison said, “That’s taken longer than we had originally forecast.”

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