Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bell 525 prototype crashes in Texas

Bell Helicopters lost a Bell 525 helicopter prototype during developmental fight testing on Wednesday morning local time.

The helicopter operating from Bell's Arlington facility crashed in Chambers Creek, Texas, killing the two test pilots onboard.

The aircraft was completely destroyed in the crash, with its tail boom laying 1500 ft from the main wreckage.

NTSB is investigating the crash, which will be aided by the extensive instrumentation and telmetry data available, as it is a developmental rotorcraft.

The aircraft was part of the three flying prototypes used for the certification. The third protoype joined the flight test program in April 2016 and sports a new white-red paint scheme, unlike the orange livery used on the first two prototypes.

The flight testing have accumulated more than 300 flight hours and have recently demonstrated speeds above 200kt (370km/h).

The 525 first flew in July 2015 and was expected to receive certification in 2017.

The twin engined helicopter was the first to introduce a fly-by-wire system in a commercial helicopter. It was mainly designed for offshore transport roles and could fly 20 passengers upto a distance of 1000 kilometres.

The aircraft is powered by two 2,000 shp-class General Electric CT7- 2F1 engines.