Bell Helicopter completes first flight of Bell 525

The helicopter features metal and composite structures from GKN Aerospace.

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Bell Helicopter (Ft. Worth, TX, US) recently completed the first flight of the Bell 525 Relentless helicopter, which is a key milestone in the test program to achieve FAA certification. 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. The aircraft integrates critical systems data to be easily accessible at-a-glance with the first fully-integrated touch screen flight deck designed for helicopters, the Garmin G5000HTM. Best-in-class payload, cabin, cargo volumes, comfort and egress complement the technological advancements on the aircraft.

GKN Aerospace (Filton, Bristol, U.K.)  is contracted to provide Bell Helicopter with key metal and composite structures across the new Bell 525 helicopter fuselage. This major work package includes composite and aluminum fuselage panels and structural parts installed in the cockpit, cabin and tail boom.

GKN Aerospace also provides development and supply of state-of-the-art fuel tanks for the Bell 525. The tanks are manufactured using a newly developed fuel cell material that allows the tanks to weigh less than comparable in-service tanks while also meeting the rigorous performance requirements for Technical Standing Order (TSO C80) and Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR27/29).

 “In the Bell 525 Relentless, Bell Helicopter has created a remarkable helicopter that offers the market truly exceptional levels of performance,” said Kevin Cummings, CEO of GKN Aerospace. “We are extremely proud to have contributed to the development of this first ‘Super Medium’ class helicopter and we warmly congratulate Bell Helicopter on achieving this important program milestone.”