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One Year Later, Bell 525 Relentless Cleared To Resume Testing

Today, July 7, 2017, Bell Helicopter announced that the Bell 525 Relentless program has resumed its flight test activity after receiving an experimental certificate renewal from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Today we have resumed a key element of the Bell 525 program,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO. “Bell Helicopter has worked with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and FAA since the accident and we are confident in the resumption of flight test activity.”

                                       Bell 525 Relentless. Photo by Bell Helicopter.

“The team is focused on certification in 2018 and we are committed to bringing this innovative and high-performing helicopter to market,” added Snyder.

This news comes exactly one year and a day after the crash of one of the 525 Relentless test aircraft. That fateful accident which claimed the life of two crew members, occurred during a test flight shortly after the 525 departed the Bell Helicopter Xworx facility in Arlington Texas. While the report for the cause of the crash hasn’t been officially released by the National Transportation Safety Board, preliminary reports have indicated that the main rotor struck both the front and back of the helicopter, causing the helicopter to break up in mid-flight. The helicopter crashed at 11:45am on July 6th 2016, approximately 54 miles from the Xworx facility, three miles northwest of Italy, Texas. A small farming community located in the southern portion of Ellis County.


The Bell 525 Relentless was first announced at Heli-Expo 2012, and is the world’s first fly-by-wire commercial helicopter, designed to operate safely and reliable in austere environments while minimizing pilot workload. The aircraft features the first fully-integrated touch screen avionics suite designed for helicopters, the Garmin G5000H®. Best-in-class payload, cabin, cargo volumes, and passenger comfort complement the technological advancements on the aircraft.


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