Bell's V-280 Valor tiltrotor achieved 280 ktas in forward flight on Wednesday at the company's Arlington, Texas Flight Research Center. Other milestones achieved by the V-280 during its first 13 months of in-air testing include 85 flight hours and 180 rotor turn hours, in-flight transitions between cruise mode and vertical takeoff and landing, 45-degree banked turns at 200 knots indicated airspeed, 4,500 feet-per-minute rate of climb sustained at an altitude of 11,500 feet, a single ferry flight of 370 miles, and demonstrated low- and high-speed agility with fly-by-wire controls.
“It is a remarkable achievement to hit this airspeed for the V-280 Valor in just over a year of flight testing," said Keith Flail, Bell vice president for advanced vertical lift systems. "Beyond the exemplary speed and agility of this aircraft, this significant milestone is yet another proof point that the V-280 is mature technology, and the future is now for FVL [future vertical lift] capability set 3.”
The V-280 is Bell’s entry in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator Program (JMR-TD), part of its plan to develop a new generation of FVL aircraft to be fielded as early as 2030. During the remainder of the year, Bell plans to expand the V-280’s flight performance envelope highlighting low-speed agility maneuvers, angles of bank, and autonomous flight.