Bell completed hot-weather testing for its Model 525 helicopter last week in Yuma, Arizona, the company announced today. The super-medium twin flew during outside air temperatures of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as completed high-altitude operations to density altitudes of 14,000 feet.
“The aircraft performed very well and we are gathering test data for certification,” said 525 chief test pilot Troy Caudill. Earlier this year, the 525 completed cold weather testing at temperatures as low as minus 37 degrees Fahrenheit in North Manitoba, Canada.
According to Bell, the 525 flight-test fleet has now accumulated more than 1,000 hours flying at speeds exceeding 200 knots at maximum gross weight limits. Bell said the aircraft's performance continues to meet or exceed all design specifications.
Preparations for FAA flight-test participation in the fourth quarter is now under way and Bell continues to hold to a planned certification time frame in 2019. Three test aircraft are currently flying and a fourth is scheduled to join the fleet by year-end.
The 20,500-pound 525 features fly-by-wire flight controls, Garmin G5000H avionics, and two GE Aviation CT7-2F1 engines.