Bell Helicopter is confident that its 525 Relentless super-medium-class rotorcraft will be back in the air shortly, despite a self-imposed grounding that has now lasted almost a year and has seen service entry pushed back to 2019.
The US airframer instituted a flight ban on its two remaining prototypes following the fatal crash of its initial flight-test vehicle (N525TA) on 6 July 2016.
But speaking on a pre-Paris air show media call on 5 June, Bell chief executive Mitch Snyder said that re-assembly of its two remaining test aircraft was almost complete.
“We are preparing for flight and expect to be in the air in the near term,” he says, although declines to offer a specific timeline. Ground runs are also yet to take place, he admits.