Bell Helicopter announced the successful first flight of the Bell 525 Relentless on 1 July 2015. The maiden flight of the super-medium helicopter took place at the company’s aircraft assembly center in Amarillo, Texas.

The Bell 525 is the world’s first fly-by-wire commercial helicopter designed to operate safely and reliably in austere environments with decreased pilot workload. Amoing the technological advancements the aircraft features the first fully integrated touch-screen avionics suite designed for helicopters, the Garmin G5000H®.

The helicopter was designed with input from a Customer Advisory Panel, looking to create an aircraft that meets future requirements for operational safety, payload and range, cabin comfort and configuration, and reliability. One of its unique characteristics is the ability to perform CAT-A takeoffs and landings, to and from a helipad, at maximum gross weight. Even in the event that one of the two engines fails, the Bell 525 will have sufficient power to lift off safely with a single operational engine. The aircraft is already proving popular with the company having over 60 helicopters reserved under letters of intent.

“The Bell 525 was announced at Heli-Expo in 2012, and we are proud to have achieved this milestone,” said Matt Hasik, executive vice president of commercial programmes at Bell Helicopter. “We have diligently executed our schedule to design, develop, build and test the aircraft, and look forward to the next phase of flight testing as we work towards certification,

“The marketplace has been awaiting the transformational capabilities of the Bell 525 and we continue to see growing customer demand from around the globe for this aircraft.”

“The Bell 525 performed extremely well,” said Troy Caudill, senior flight test pilot at Bell Helicopter. “I am excited to be a part of the development of this advanced aircraft and help define the future of vertical lift.”

“The first flight test started with taxi testing and maneouvers and then went into an initial hover, performing various hover maneouvers and then tested low speed handling qualities with winds gusting to 20 knots,” added Jeff Greenwood, senior flight test pilot at Bell Helicopter.

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