The first of two flight-test Bell 525s will depart Arlington, Texas, for Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (NWT) Canada (CYZF), 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle, within the week for more cold-weather testing, according to Bell. The first helicopter is expected to remain on site for six weeks, while the second is expected to arrive at the end of this month and remain on site for approximately two weeks.
High temperatures this week in Yellowknife are expected in the -27 degree F range, with windchill down to -43 degrees F with a “risk of frostbite” during the day, according to Environment Canada. During cold-weather testing last year, a 525 was tested at temperatures down to -37 degrees F in Northern Manitoba and was also cold soaked down to -31 degrees F.
To date, the 525 fleet of four test aircraft has accumulated more than 1,200 hours, with 850 hours of flight time. Bell is aiming to obtain FAA certification of the 20,500-pound, fly-by-wire, super-medium twin later this year. A Bell spokesman told AIN that the company will be releasing an updated product specification book on the helicopter at the Heli-Expo show in Atlanta in March.