Two killed as Bell 525 crashes during flight tests

A Bell 525 has crashed during flight tests near Arlington, Texas, killing two pilots on board.
A Bell 525 has crashed during flight tests near Arlington, Texas, killing two pilots on board. Bell Helicopter Photo
Advertisement

A Bell 525 Relentless has crashed during flight testing south of Bell Helicopter’s Xworx facility in Arlington, Texas, killing two crewmembers on board.

A Bell spokesperson said the aircraft was “conducting developmental flight test operations” when the accident happened, and that its representatives were now onsite to assess the situation and assist local, state, and federal authorities. The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed in a tweet that it was investigating the crash.

“This is a devastating day for Bell Helicopter. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our teammates and have reached out to their families to offer our support,” Bell said in a statement.

“At this time we ask for your understanding as we work through all of the details. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.”

Photos of the crash site show a compact debris field, with only small fragments of the fuselage visible. WFAA reported eyewitness claims that the aircraft hit a power line and exploded, but the Texas Department of Public Safety said the aircraft did not strike the line and electricity transmission was unaffected.

Advertisement

One of the new breed of “super medium” class helicopters, the 525 Relentless was publicly unveiled at Heli-Expo 2012. The 20,000-pound gross weight class helicopter offers a standard seating configuration for 16 passengers and two pilots, with a typical cruise speed of 155 knots for distances of over 500 nautical miles. When certified, it will also be the first commercial fly-by-wire civil certified part 29 helicopter.

The aircraft that crashed was one of two prototypes currently working on the manufacturer’s flight test program, with test ship number three set to join the certification effort shortly. As of March, the test program had completed 130 flight test hours, putting it 40 percent ahead of schedule in test points to be accomplished for its targeted certification in late 2017.

 

6 thoughts on “Two killed as Bell 525 crashes during flight tests

  1. It’s sad that at this late era of helicopter development we can’t build them to stay off the ground. My heart goes out to the people who lost loved ones .

  2. What a terrible tragedy! Most sincere condolences to the crew’s families and loved ones, and to Bell’s entire flight test team.

  3. ? Obviously, the person at Texas DPS doesn’t understand how blade strikes on powerlines work – it doesn’t have to break the cable or even interrupt power. A few ounces lost from contact on any blade will create an immediate imbalance that will tear the rotor apart.

    Eyewitnesses can’t be so quickly dismissed.

  4. How come there is no mention of how these pilots died? Was it from a fire? Did this helicopter have crash resistant fuel tanks? If not, how come?

  5. I am very sad over this tragedy, i flu must of my career in bell choppers ..my blessings for the families and my wishes in the succes of the investigation.. I saw before this catastrofic type failures were it is nothing remaining to fly but this was new..sorry again

  6. Great tragedy indeed ! We were very optimistic to see the Fly-by-wire tech in hel industry. I am flying Bell now, lovely reliable machine to fly. Most sincere condolences to the crew’s families and loved ones, and to Bell’s entire flight test team. We pray that you overcome quickly. God bless you !!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *