Bell 525. Photo courtesy of Bell
The Bell 525 has completed hot-weather testing in Yuma, Arizona, the manufacturer said Tuesday. The flight test program has accumulated 1,000 hours of test time toward certification in 2019.
The aircraft flew in temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and also at altitudes up to 14,000 ft. Earlier this year, it completed cold-weather testing at temperatures down to minus-37 degrees Fahrenheit in North Manitoba, Canada.
Bell expects to start icing trials at the end of 2019, after certification, because deicing kits can be retrofitted to the aircraft afterward and its not required for certification.
Earlier this year, Bell pushed the 525's initial certification target date to 2019 from the end of 2018 after the No. 1 prototype's crash stalled the timeline.
As of March, Bell has received an estimated 80 letters of intent for the aircraft, but has yet to publicly name those customers. Bell said Bristow signed a memorandum of understanding at Heli-Expo for the 525's possible configuration as a search and rescue helicopter.
Once certified, the 525 will be the first commercially flown fly-by-wire helicopter.