FAA certifies GE CT7-2F1 engine, used to power Bell 525 Relentless

GE Aviation’s CT7-2F1 has achieved type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), marking another milestone in the path toward certification of the aircraft it powers — the Bell 525 Relentless.

Bell began flight testing the 525 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, in January 2019. The type has now accrued more than 1,000 flight hours. Stephen Fochuk Photo
Bell began flight testing the 525 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, in January 2019. The type has now accrued more than 1,000 flight hours. Stephen Fochuk Photo
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The 2,000-horsepower-class turboshaft will provide the 525 with up to 2,129 horsepower for emergencies and 1,979 horsepower for takeoff, according to GE. The engine is the latest member of the powerplant manufacturer’s CT7/T700 family, which has recorded more than 100 million flight hours on civil and military turboshaft and turboprop aircraft.

The engine has a new, improved-life high pressure turbine, engine electronic control unit and a health and usage monitoring system (HUMS).

“Achieving FAA certification is a great accomplishment for the CT7-2F1 program and the dedicated team involved,” said Elissa Lee, GE Aviation executive product manager. “We are proud to support the Bell 525 Relentless with an engine designed to meet its performance objectives.”

The engine will be available with GE’s TrueChoice Flight Hour program — a comprehensive service offering for maintaining commercial helicopter operations.

Bell is targeting the end of 2019 for certification of its fly-by-wire super medium helicopter, and has now accumulated more than 1,000 flight hours and over 1,350 hours of total turn time with the type.

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The FAA joined the Bell 525 flight test team in November 2018 and has been involved in Bell’s certification flight testing in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and the recent completion of snow testing certification in Rome, New York.

“The last month has been the most successful to date, in terms of completion of certification milestones for the Bell 525 program,” said Byron Ward, vice president, Bell 525. “FAA certification for the aircraft’s engine is another major achievement, and we are that much closer to bringing the most advanced helicopter to market.”

The final Bell 525 flight test vehicle is currently in Amarillo, Texas, finalizing ground-based certification testing. It is scheduled to fly by the end of this month, when it will join the three other aircraft in the flight test program.

 

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