Bell's MAPL Tail Fan Demonstrator Completes High Altitude Testing

October 12, 2004
NBAA - Las Vegas, NV - October 12, 2004 - Bell's new tail fan demonstrator helicopter is back at the company's XworX facility in Arlington, Texas, following a successful round of high altitude flight-testing in Leadville, Colorado. While in Colorado the aircraft demonstrated OGE (out of ground effect) hover at over 11,700 feet, and flight at an altitude greater than 13,000 feet. It also demonstrated left and right sideward flight up to 45 knots. On the return trip to Texas following testing, the aircraft visited Air Methods at Denver's Centennial Airport and demonstrated its very low noise signature.

Bell's Tail Fan DemonstratorThe tail fan demonstrator aircraft completed its first flight on July 15, 2004. The demonstrator is being used to explore the flight characteristics of this protected, low-noise anti-torque device intended for use on Bell's new MAPL line of light helicopters (the Modular Affordable Product Line.)

The tail fan demonstrator is an experimental Bell 407 with a forty-inch diameter fan and duct, which replace the sixty-five inch diameter tail rotor. The tail fan incorporates technology developed during bench testing completed earlier this year, many features of which are covered by new patent disclosures. It has been designed to allow testing in multiple different duct configurations, to provide information on their performance and acoustics in hover and forward flight.

The tail fan is only one of many new technologies being developed specifically for the MAPL family, including an advanced rotor demonstrator planned to fly later this year. The first aircraft in the MAPL family is expected to be available in 2008, although some of these new technologies are mature and could be incorporated in existing Bell aircraft now in production.

Bell Helicopter Textron, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., is a $1.6 billion, leading producer of commercial and military helicopters, and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce of over 7,500 employees serves customers flying Bell aircraft in over 120 countries.

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