Helicopters Magazine

V-280 Valor reaches 280 knots

January 31, 2019  By Helicopters Staff

The Bell V-280 Valor achieved its namesake optimal cruise speed of 280 knots on January 23, 2019, at the company’s Flight Research Center in Arlington, TX. This achievement comes after a full year’s worth of testing and more than 85 hours of flight time, as Bell continues too expand the aircraft’s flight envelope. 

“It is a remarkable achievement to hit this airspeed for the V-280 Valor in just over a year of flight testing. Beyond the exemplary speed and agility of this aircraft, this significant milestone is yet another proof point that the V-280 is mature technology, and the future is now for FVL capability set 3,” said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell.

The V-280 Valor is purpose-built to conduct long range assault at twice the speed and range of existing medium-lift helicopters. Bell explains the aircraft cruises at twice the speed of legacy helicopters, with double the range.

As the program moves into 2019, Bell explains V-280 flight testing will continue to focus on proving key performance parameters and reduce FVL risk in the U.S. Army led Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program. The next stages will focus on further low-speed agility maneuvers, angles of bank and autonomous flight.

The latest flight statistics include:


    Forward flight at 280 knots true airspeed
    Over 85 hours of flight and more than 180 rotor turn hours
    In-flight transitions between cruise mode and vertical takeoff and landing
    45-degree banked turns at 200 knots indicated airspeed
    4500 feet per minute rate of climb and sustained flight at 11,500 feet altitude
    Single flight ferry of over 370 miles
    Demonstrated low and high-speed agility with fly-by-wire controls


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