Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter
Bell Helicopter test pilots have flown the prototype 525 Relentless south for its next phase of flight test work.
Flight Test Vehicle 1 was flown Dec. 1 from its assembly site in Amarillo, Texas, to the XworX research and development facility at Arlington Municipal Airport, about 8 mi southeast of Bell’s Fort Worth headquarters. It is scheduled to remain in testing there until the year’s end, the company told R&WI.
The move also will give Fort Worth-area Bell employees a chance to see the super-medium twin firsthand at an XworX event Dec. 5.
The first prototype is used to conduct flight envelope expansion testing and most recently explored various gross-weight and center-of-gravity configurations. It also has performed maximum-continuous-power climbs to gather data for engineers to assess flow fields at high angles of attack. In late October, the flight test team validated the 525’s predicted air speed capability by flying the prototype at the designed never-to-exceed (VNE) airspeed of 165 kt true at density altitudes of 8,000 and 12,000 ft. Bell has now completed testing up to the VNE at most extremes of the flight envelope.
Back in Amarillo, the assembly facility is preparing to receive Flight Test Vehicle 2, which Bell aims to complete by Dec. 31. Work on the third prototype is progressing, the company said.