Bell 505 receives high-altitude flight certification

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The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X conducts test flights in Nepal.

Bell Helicopter’s 505 Jet Ranger X aircraft has received certification for high-altitude operations – those involving flying at up to 22,500 feet density altitude.

The helicopter has also now crossed the 13,000-flight hour mark and is flying across six continents.

The Bell 505’s new altitude capability was showcased during a test demonstration in Nepal this spring. The testing efforts included numerous take-offs and landings at density altitudes between 18,000 and 18,500 feet, as well as the evacuation of landings with the loss of control system hydraulic boost.

“The Bell 505 is the most advanced short light single helicopter in the world, and we are proud to bring more performance to our operator’s missions,” said LaShan Bonaparte, Programme Director, Bell 505 and Bell 429. “High-altitude demonstrations are another testament to the aircraft’s ability to perform in the most demanding environments, across a variety of segments.”

With a speed of 125 knots (232 km/h) and useful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kg), the Bell 505 was designed to be safe and easy to fly while providing maximum operational efficiency. The customer-driven design of the aircraft, according to Bell, places safety, performance and affordability at the forefront, blending proven systems with advanced technology and a sleek, modern design.

No doubt this new capability will prove immensely valuable for mountaineering search and rescue missions, where up until now, lower air density at higher altitudes amidst mountain peaks has proven to be very difficult, if not impossible on higher mountain ranges, for helicopters to fly in.