14 November 2017
FlightGlobal reports that Bell Helicopter plans to conduct the initial flight for its V-280 tiltrotor aircraft before “the end of the autumn,” according to Bell Vice President of Military Business Vince Tobin, speaking at the Dubai Airshow. The V-280 initially will take part in the “joint multirole technology demonstrator” program, but Bell “hopes the V-280 will then form the basis for the multiservice future vertical lift (FVL) initiative, initially as a replacement for the army’s fleet of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks.” Tobin said that initial flights will be “confined” to low altitude hovering, with full airplane mode flights to be held “by the spring of 2018.” Bell believes that it will be able to “begin the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of any programme of record by 2021.” Tobin anticipates that the Pentagon eventually will award contracts for both the V-280 as well as the rival “co-axial-rotor Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant.”  (Image: A mock-up of a Bell V-280, exhibited at HeliExpo 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Credit: Chris.w.braun, Wikipedia)
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