Development of Bell Helicopter’s 525 Relentless super-medium-class helicopter, with a roomy cabin popular with corporate and VIP travelers, has been delayed since a test flight ended in tragedy in July 2016 in Texas, when the aircraft was destroyed and two test pilots were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t yet completed its investigation of the accident, but Bell says it expects to resume flight tests with two other aircraft “within several months.” Meanwhile, Bell says it has been working with the NTSB, and the investigation has focused “on a sequence of events for which corrective actions are being implemented.” Further details await the NTSB’s report at the conclusion of its investigation.
The Relentless will be the most spacious commercial helicopter developed by Bell, with an 88-square-foot cabin that can hold up to 20 passengers (and one or two flight crew members). A rotor-hub vibration eliminator system helps deliver a best-in-class ride, the company says, while minimizing noise. Huge panoramic windows provide stunning views. Modular seating, stowable flat-screen monitors, table options, cabinets, coolers, custom carpet, and window-tint choices provide plenty of versatility for travelers to design their own bespoke environment for traveling. Handcrafted leather upholstery adds comfort. A custom MAGnificient interior by Mecaer Aviation Group is available, providing an ergonomic design with a blend of style and technology that maximizes both functionality and luxury.
The custom ARC Horizon flight deck, with cutting-edge fly-by-wire sidestick controls, Garmin G5000H touchscreen avionics, and synthetic vision, aims to enhance flight safety by providing exceptional situational awareness for the crew. The 525 can cruise at speeds up to 185 mph and cover up to 645 miles. If the helicopter is certified by the end of next year, as Bell has said it anticipates, deliveries could start soon after. Bell hasn’t yet released a price for the aircraft. (bellhelicopter.com)