Bell Helicopter told media in January that it has a vision for the future of its aircraft.
One piece of evidence for that is its new air taxi cabin interior that will be on display at its booth (C5122).
Originally unveiled at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, the cabin interior incorporates design elements from Bell’s FCX-001 demonstrator rotorcraft unveiled at Heli-Expo last year in Dallas.
The manufacturer has seen a rather busy year since then — ramping up production on the 505, testing its V-280 tiltrotor and dealing with the setbacks to its 525 development program since its 2016 crash. Bell even has another planned unveiling for Heli-Expo that has still been under wraps as of publication.
Furthermore, it unveiled yet another piece of equipment that the manufacturer is using to test technologies for future distributed propulsion and its potential applications, such as those in urban air mobility vehicles.
Hybrid Drive Train Research Aircraft, or HYDRA, will allow Bell engineers to learn about this type of transportation to ultimately apply it to future aircraft.
“Our team has discovered the unexpected stability of a circular wing in flight and certain control laws that allow aircraft stability in VTOL mode, airplane mode, during transition and even in the event of a system failure,” Bell said in a statement to media about the unmanned air vehicle.
Bell doesn’t even see tail rotors in future designs — a concept very prominently noticed in current renderings for general concepts of urban air mobility vehicles in the industry.
Elsewhere, its 505 is seeing success around the world after receiving a string of certifications in 2017 — including FAA in June and EASA in November.
There have been several deliveries of the aircraft type in recent months in the Asia-Pacific region — including China, where the manufacturer is targeting its light singles aircraft in particular.
China’s Reignwood International Investment Co. Ltd. has been set to own the most Jet Ranger Xs in the world with 110 ordered. It also will act as exclusive reseller for the 505 in the nation and establish a 505 delivery and maintenance center.
Just recently, at the Singapore Airshow early February, the manufacturer announced the delivery of the aircraft type to various customers in the Asia-Pacific region. At the show, Bell said it delivered aircraft to companies in Australia and Japan and signed a purchase agreement with a Vietnamese company.