Bell Sets Sights on 2023 Certification for 525 Helo

 - February 2, 2023, 10:13 AM
Bell is in final certification testing of its 525 Relentless and in tandem is seeking icing approvals. (Photo: Bell)

Bell is in the final throes of the certification program for the 525 Relentless and anticipates certification of the super-medium, twin-engine helicopter by year-end, company executives said during a recent media day in Fort Worth, Texas. “We're making great progress towards certification. Our intent is to certify this year,” said Bell president and CEO Mitch Snyder. But he also caveated that ultimately this will be in the hands of the FAA.

Certification work on the 525's fly-by-wire system, an industry first for commercial helicopters, is for the most part complete as is most of Bell’s tasks under its organization delegation authorization, according to 525 program director Derek Mookhoek. “Everything that's in our control…we're doing that, and we're running out of that work,” he said. The remainder involves certification flight tests, FAA review, and final approvals.

Bell, meanwhile, is continuing with its effort to have the helicopter certified for icing as type approval is granted, kicking off full-scale testing in Marquette, Michigan, last month. As for the initial results, Mookhoek said, “The systems are working great. Our challenge has been getting the weather to be able to go test.”

The helicopter manufacturer is not yet ready to name a launch customer, but Mookhoek said, "There are quite a few customers that we're talking to right now...and they're great conversations.”