Bell Helicopter said its V-280 Valor
was originally scheduled to take its first hover flight in November, with first conventional fight in December. With a little less than two weeks left in 2017, the manufacturer announced its tiltrotor has achieved first flight at its facility in Amarillo, Texas. (Video courtesy of Bell Helicopter.)
“This is an exciting time for Bell Helicopter, and I could not be more proud of the progress we have made with first flight of the Bell V-280,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO for Bell. “First flight demonstrates our commitment to supporting Department of Defense leadership’s modernization priorities and acquisition reform initiatives. The Valor is designed to revolutionize vertical lift for the U.S. Army and represents a transformational aircraft for all the challenging missions our armed forces are asked to undertake.”
The V-280 is Bell's offering for the Army-led Future Vertical Lift program. Also participating in the program is a Sikorsky-Boeing team and the SB>1 Defiant.
The Valor made its first low-power ground run at the end of September, spun its rotors at 100% rpm in October and tilted its props in controlled conversion a month later.