The fourth Bell 525 Relentless joined the program’s test fleet last week, when flight-test vehicle number 4 (FTV4) flew from Bell’s flight test center in Arlington, Texas. The helicopter joins two others currently in flight test. One more, FTV5, is scheduled to fly in the fourth quarter of this year.
Prototypes of Bell’s new super-medium twin have completed more than 400 hours of flight testing since they resumed flight in July 2017 following a one-year stand-down following the fatal crash of FTV1 in 2016. During one-engine inoperative testing at high speed, FTV1 experienced severe vibration and broke up in-flight.
Following this accident, Bell implemented several design changes to the 525, including filtering of the biomechanical and sensor feedback by the control system to prevent amplification of vibrations in specific flight conditions. Bell is aiming to complete flight testing and gain certification for the 20,000-pound fly-by-wire helicopter next year.
“This is another significant milestone for the Bell 525 program and a testament to the hard work being completed at our flight research center,” said Bell 525 program vice president Byron Ward.
FONTE: AINonline by Mark Huber