On November 10, Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced the successful first flight of the Bell 505 Jet Ranger Xtm helicopter. The maiden flight took place at the company’s Mirabel, Québec manufacturing facility.
“Bell Helicopter pioneered the short light single market, and here we are nearly fifty years later, changing the way the world flies once again,” says Matt Hasik, senior vice president of commercial programs at Bell Helicopter. “We have seen tremendous response from the market for the Bell 505, and today’s exciting flight marks another step toward delivering the high-performance, high-value aircraft our customers have been asking for.”
The Bell 505 was designed based on extensive input provided by a Customer Advisory Council (CAC). Bell Helicopter unveiled the Jet Ranger X at HELI-Expo 2014 in February and has already received more than 240 letters of intent for the new model.
“The Bell 505 performed exactly as anticipated today,” says Yann Lavalle, senior flight test pilot at Bell Helicopter. “I am excited to be a part of the history of the Jet Ranger legacy, an aircraft that defined the market nearly 50 years ago.”
“We hovered in the Bell 505, performed a low-speed controllability assessment and flew two laps in the local traffic pattern. Our top speed today was 60 knots, and the entire flight lasted approximately 30 minutes,” added Eric Emblin, senior flight test pilot at Bell Helicopter.
The customer-driven design of the Jet Ranger X places safety, performance and affordability at its forefront, blending proven systems with advanced technology and a sleek, modern design. The Bell 505 features a high visibility cockpit equipped with the Garmin G1000H Integrated Avionics Suite to provide pilots critical flight information at a glance. Bell’s newest commercial helicopter is powered by the Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), which further reduces pilot workload. Additional enhanced safety features include a high inertia rotor system delivering superior autorotation capabilities.
The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is a five-seat, single-engine, turbine helicopter that is designed to be the safest and easiest aircraft to fly in its category while still remaining affordably priced. With a cruise speed of 125+ knots, range of over 360 nautical miles and useful load of 1,500 pounds, the Bell 505 offers best-in-class performance. The Jet Ranger X is a multi-mission helicopter, designed to meet a wide variety of missions with its fully flat floor, increased cabin volume and clam shell doors that will provide customers the configuration flexibility needed in today’s market. It can support a wide variety of operations categories, including the utility segment, corporate and private owners, and training schools. The combination of capabilities, performance characteristics and value will be backed by Bell Helicopter’s industry-leading customer service and support.
The Jet Ranger X is one of three new aircraft currently under development at Bell Helicopter. The company is also developing the Bell 525 Relentless, the world’s first commercial fly-by-wire helicopter, as well as the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor for the Department of Defense (DoD) Future Vertical Lift (FVL) effort.