Bell V-280 Completes Autonomous Test Flight Written 13 January 2020


A V-280 Valor prototype takes flight at the 2019 Alliance Air Show in Fort Worth, TX | Danazar/Wikipedia; CC BY-SA 4.0

Aviation Today reported that Bell’s “V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft completed a successful autonomous test flight in December” while the company awaits “an Army downselect decision in March to continue forward in the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft program.” Bell V-280 Program Manager Ryan Ehinger “said the technology demonstrator aircraft performed the full range of autonomous flight requirements during the test, including automated takeoff and landing, conversion into cruise mode, and precision navigation.” Along with the Bell V-280, a Boeing-Sikorsky SB-1 has also participated in the “Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) phase” and is hoping to move on to the “Competitive Demo & Risk Reduction phase.” The Army will “select up to two aircraft to move” on. Bell V-280 Chief Engineer Paul Wilson “noted that the autonomous flight test was an opportunity to further inform FLRAA requirements and demonstrate that an optionally-manned capability was in the realm of the possible.”
Full Story (Aviation Today)