AMARILLO, Texas. The Bell V-280 Valor, Bell Helicopter’s Air Vehicle Concept Demonstrator aircraft funded under the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) program, flew for the first time at the Bell Flight Test Facility in Amarillo, Texas, on 7 Feb. 2018. A U.S. Army experimental test pilot operated the tiltrotor military aircraft to gain a better understanding of how the aircraft functions while performing hover in ground effect repositioning, pattern flight, and roll-on landings.
Bell officials announce that the Bell V-280 Valor was progressing through flight tests.The Bell V-280 Valor reached a flight speed of 80 knots and is flying at an altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level, they said. “Some of the test points demonstrated: ground taxi, hover taxi, low-altitude hovering maneuvers, including 360 pedal turns and forward/aft/lateral repositions, 40 knots roll on landings, and forward flight out to 80 knots.”
The V-280 Valor program has surpassed milestones such as first flight and flight at 80 knots. Bell's first flight with an Army pilot is yet another on-schedule milestone in Bell's Future Vertical Lift efforts, officials say.
Officials at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, reveal that Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tom Wiggins of the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command conducted the flight.
The JMR TD is an Army science and technology effort designed to develop, expand, and demonstrate new capabilities in vertical lift technology. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center leads the JMR TD effort, which is a precursor to the Department of Defense Future Vertical Lift program.
"One of the keys to this successful S&T demonstration effort is the nature by which the government and industry partners have completely teamed not only during the analysis, design and early qualification efforts, but also for the flight test activity," says JMR TD Program Director Dan Bailey.
FVL will deliver the next generation of vertical lift aircraft to the Joint Warfighter, providing the speed, range, payload, and mission systems critical to successfully engaging the enemy in future operations, officials say.
AMRDEC personnel have been involved in the demonstrator effort, including integration of experimental test pilots and flight test engineers into the mixed flight test team. Army pilots will take part in additional flights throughout the test program.
"With Army combat-experienced, experimental test pilots embedded in Bell's test team, we have a unique opportunity to help bring the project across the finish line and also develop insights valuable to the FVL initiative. We're very proud of CW3 Wiggins," says Director of the Aviation Development Directorate Dr. Bill Lewis.
Four agreements were awarded under the JMR TD to AVX Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, Karem Aircraft, and a team of Sikorsky-Boeing for initial designs with the Bell and Sikorsky-Boeing efforts funded to build and fly technology demonstrator aircraft.
Bell's first flight with an Army pilot is another on-schedule milestone in an effort that was awarded in September 2013, with Preliminary Design Review in 2014, Critical Design Review and start of aircraft assembly in mid-2015, and assembly complete in early 2017.
U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Textron Off Road, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training.
(Photos: Bell Helicopter)