A 525 Relentless test aircraft at Bell's Flight Research Center in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Dan Parsons)
The FAA has certified GE’s CT7-2F1, a major step toward clearing the Bell 525 Relentless for flight over the United States.
Announced on March 25, the type certification of the CT7-2F1 is the latest in GE’s CT7/T700 family of power plants, which collectively have logged more than 100 million flight hours on both civil and military rotorcraft and fixed-wing aircraft.
The 2,000 shaft horsepower turboshaft will provide the Bell 525 — the world’s first commercial fly-by-wire helicopter — with up to 2,129 SHP for emergencies and 1,979 SHP for takeoff.
“Achieving FAA certification is a great accomplishment for the CT7-2F1 program and the dedicated team involved,” said Elissa Lee, GE Aviation’s executive product manager. “We are proud to support the Bell 525 Relentless with an engine designed to meet its performance objectives.”
The engine features a new, improved-life high pressure turbine, Engine Electronic Control Unit and a health and usage monitoring system (HUMS). With its rugged, fuel efficient and exceptional performance, the CT7-2F1 provides reliable power in a variety of roles. The Bell 525 Relentless is designed to support customers in various mission configurations including oil & gas, search & rescue, helicopter emergency medical services and VIP/corporate transport.
Coupled with GE’s TrueChoice Flight Hour, the CT7-2F1 engine will maximize availability and long-term value for the Bell 525 Relentless, according to GE. TrueChoice Flight Hour is tailored to meet the business and financial objectives of operators and help optimize cost of ownership over the entire lifecycle.
Bell is dead-set on achieving FAA type certification for the 525 in 2019. The 525 test and certification program has accumulated more than 1,000 flight hours and over 1,350 hours of total turn time, according to the company.
FAA personnel joined the 525 flight test team in November 2018 and are now actively involved in certification flight testing in Yellowknife, Canada, as well as the recent completion of snow testing certification in Rome, New York.
The final Bell 525 flight test vehicle is currently in Amarillo, Texas finalizing ground-based certification testing and is scheduled to fly at the end of March 2019.
“The last month has been the most successful to date, in terms of completion of certification milestones for the Bell 525 program,” Byron Ward, Bell’s vice president of 525 development, said in a prepared statement. “FAA certification for the aircraft’s engine is another major achievement and we are that much closer to bringing the most advanced helicopter to market.”