Bell Helicopter took its latest five-seat design, the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X, on its maiden flight yesterday, bringing the helicopter one step closer to certification. The flight took off from the company's Mirabel, Quebec, manufacturing facility and lasted about 30 minutes.
This initial test flight included hovering and two laps in the pattern flanked by a Bell 429. The flight focused primarily on engine performance, low speed maneuverability and tail rotor control, Bell said. Loads and vibrations were tested to a maximum speed of 60 knots.
“The Bell 505 performed exactly as anticipated today,” said Yann Lavalle, Bell’s senior flight test pilot, who also described the helicopter as stable.
The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is powered by a fadec-controlled Turbomeca Arius 2R engine producing 504 shp for takeoff. Garmin’s G1000H PFD and MFD panels dominate the 505’s sleek flight deck.
Since Bell announced the 505 at the Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California, in February the company has received 240 letters of intent for the new helicopter design.
“Bell Helicopter pioneered the short light single market, and here we are nearly fifty years later, changing the way the world flies once again,” said Matt Hasik, senior vice president of commercial programs at Bell Helicopter.