Bell Tilt-Rotor Completes First Year Of Flight Test

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Bell Helicopter’s V-280 tilt-rotor has completed its first year of flight testing, the company said this week, and moved from its base in Amarillo, Texas, to the flight research center in Arlington, Texas. “We are now taking the V-280 to its next step,” said James Mercereau, the flight operations supervisor at Arlington, “to demonstrate it and conduct more flight testing.” The team plans to bring the aircraft up to its full speed of 280 knots and also demonstrate its hover performance while at the new site.

The test aircraft so far has flown nearly 85 hours, the company said, and has demonstrated forward flight at 250 knots true airspeed, inflight transitions between cruise mode and vertical takeoff and landing, 50-degree banked turns at 200 knots indicated airspeed, a 4500 feet per minute rate of climb and sustained flight at 11,500 feet altitude. The aircraft has also completed a ferry flight of 370 miles and demonstrated low- and high-speed agility with fly-by-wire controls.