The first Bell 525 Relentless super-medium twin helicopter is moving closer to final assembly at Bell Helicopter’s plant in Amarillo, Texas. Matt Hasik, Bell’s senior vice president of commercial programs, told AIN that the three main cabin sections will be joined within the next few weeks. He also said that the first carbon-fiber, all-composite main rotor blade for the 525 has been completed and is undergoing testing.
The seven gearboxes for the new helicopter are also being instrumented, assembled and tested, and the first GE CT7-2F1 engine (1,800 shp) has been shipped to Amarillo. Meanwhile, the first software build for the fly-by-wire Bell 525, which features the Garmin G5000H glass-panel avionics system, was completed last year.
Bell reports good test results at its systems integration lab, where a cockpit simulator is linked via computers to test hardware that includes swashplates, actuators and hydraulic pumps. Hasik said Bell is building five test aircraft and two static articles for the program. First flight remains on track for “very late” this year, with certification expected by the end of next year.