Bell 525 Relentless Test Flights Now Running On Sustainable Fuels

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Bell Textron first incorporated sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with its training and demonstration fleet in March, and today announced it made the first SAF-powered flight of its developmental Bell 525 Relentless helicopter over the past summer.

Michael Thacker, executive vice-president of Innovation and Commercial Business, said, “This is a major milestone in our sustainability journey, and we look forward to implementing more carbon-emission-reduction practices in the future.” Textron’s Achieve 2025 initiative aims to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, overall, by 2025.

Aviation fuel supplier Avfuel provides SAF for Bell, which is the first “rotorcraft customer” to complete flights with SAF, according to Bell, which said, “Once blended, Avfuel anticipates a 22-metric-ton reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions per truckload.”

The Bell 525 Relentless is designed for long-range missions, including servicing oil and gas rigs, and offers “a significant reduction in fuel consumption compared to other large twin-engine aircraft commonly used for offshore operations,” said Bell. The company further said it will continue using SAF for its Bell 525 test flights “when SAF availability and flight test schedules allow.” The program is currently undergoing FAA Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) flight testing.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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