Bell Helicopter’s 525 Relentless moving along well
June 17, 2013, Paris, Fra. - Bell Helicopter announced updates to the Bell 525 Relentless program today at the 2013 Paris Air Show. The updated technical specifications and design features reveal improved speed, range and payload capabilities, as well as a higher maximum gross weight and optimized flight performance.
By Carey Fredericks
“The Bell 525 Relentless program truly exemplifies our focus on meeting the mission needs of our customers. When our Customer Advisory Panel told us they wanted a helicopter with best-in-class performance characteristics and passenger amenities across a range of mission needs, we listened,” said John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter. “The updates we are sharing today are further evidence we are delivering on our customer commitment to provide an aircraft that delivers unmatched, cost effective performance.”
The Bell 525’s enhanced specifications include a flight cruise speed at max continuous power and max gross weight of 155+ kts (306 kph), a range of 500+ nm (926 km) and a useful load of 7,400+ lbs (3,357 kg). The maximum gross weight for the Relentless is 19,300+ lbs (8,754 kg). The Bell 525 Relentless can also perform CAT-A take offs and landings to and from a helipad at maximum gross weight on a hot day.
Based on continued engagement with the Customer Advisory Panel, Bell Helicopter has updated design features as well. Sponsons were added to the aft fuselage for retractable wheeled landing gear and internally-stowed floatation devices. The sponsons will provide a weight-efficient configuration for fuel-efficient, high-speed flight. In addition, a cross-sectional area of the tail boom was reduced to optimize payload and airframe lateral drag in sideward flight. Cowls and fairings above the cabin roof were modified for easy maintenance. With the input of pilots, the flight deck arrangement was slightly adjusted to further improve situational awareness.
The Relentless is progressing towards its first flight in 2014, already having achieved or on target to reach several major milestones in 2013. Bell Helicopter will begin assembling the first Bell 525 Relentless at the recently-completed, 249,000 square foot (23,133 square meter) facility in Amarillo, TX later this month. The aircraft’s third flight simulator also came online earlier in 2013, allowing pilots to fly in a variety of simulated mission conditions. The simulator demonstrates several features of the Bell 525’s ARC Horizon™ flight deck, from a large out-the-window field of view and ergonomic flight controls to excellent handling qualities in austere environments.