New Bell 525 technologies will raise oil and gas helicopter operational safety standards in the North Sea.
As we gather for another edition of the SOLA Conference in Stavanger, Norway, improving helicopter operational safety in the North Sea continues to be top of mind. We are hard at work, fully focused on our certification progress so that we can deliver an aircraft that will not only achieve the mission in the North Sea, but bring technologies never seen on a traditional helicopter before – to benefit operators and all aboard. Now let’s hear what the North Sea experts have to say.
This month, we had the pleasure of hosting the LO Helicopter Committee, the Norwegian Union for the oil and gas and search and rescue sectors to experience the Bell 525 at Bell’s Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas. The event lasted a couple of days packed with dedicated briefings, visits to various Bell sites as well as flight demonstrations.
When it comes to operations in the North Sea, the LO Helicopter Committee shared their thoughts on the new technologies that the Bell 525 will bring to the market for this sector and how they think it will affect safety.
“We are very pleased to have visited Bell and to have learned more about the Bell 525. It gave us a unique opportunity to share our input on its capabilities."Henrik S. Fjeldsbø, chairman of the LO Helicopter Committee
Bell designed the Bell 525 to deliver a generational leap forward with fly-by-wire flight controls, industry leading drive system performance and fully integrated vehicle health monitoring.
“The Bell 525 is an incredibly smart helicopter that reduces the probability of the pilot making a mistake. It's amazing that the machine predicts what the pilot wants. That means that as a pilot, I can focus on keeping track of the mission, which is crucial for safety in the North Sea.”Michael Hougaard, member of the LO Helicopter Committee and a pilot flying daily in the North Sea
The Bell 525 will be the first commercial aircraft certified with Fly-By-Wire which greatly increases safety through reduced pilot workload and enhanced situational awareness. It means that the pilot can focus on other aspects of the flight or mission and also provides increased performance and stability. The Bell 525 rotor drive system will set a new industry benchmark for robustness and run-dry capability, this minimizes single point failures and complies with the latest EASA rules for run-dry performance.
“The Bell 525 will be an extremely good platform that will take operations to the next level. We welcome all new technology that contributes to increased safety and I have high expectations for this machine. The modern technology reduces workload from the pilots and gives us increased situational awareness. I think this will be a very good machine in terms of performing safe and secure operations in the North Sea.”
The aircraft is also equipped with the most advanced Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) & Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS), allowing maintainers to easily diagnose failures and quickly return the aircraft to service. The IVHM system is fully supported by Bell through Mission Link allowing operators to access how their aircraft is performing relative to all other aircraft in the fleet.
Helicopter technician and representative on the committee, Tom Stian Beitland was impressed with the maintenance manual that is fully digital and includes 3D renderings:
“In short, it means that the entire machine is built in 3D and linked together with the maintenance manual. This makes it easier for us technicians to find components and procedures. It will help increase efficiency in troubleshooting if any problems arise.”
The spacious cabin accommodates 2 pilots and up to 16 passengers. It can easily be reconfigured due to its fully flat floors. Kjetil Larsen, who is a daily rescuer on a SAR helicopter in the North Sea, wanted to check if the cabin was large enough to be used as an offshore rescue helicopter.
“We filled the cabin with as many people as we could find. We fit 23 people on board, and yet there was room for more. That means the machine passed the test of being able to save 21 people in need.”
The Bell 525 helicopter is at the center of the safety conversation at SOLA this week. At Bell, we are very proud of the new outstanding technologies that we have engineered and are currently testing meticulously with the FAA and EASA.
To continue the conversation join us at SOLA on Monday 16th September @ 1325 for a presentation by the Bell 525 Program Director – Byron Ward
Check out a video of the 525 Norwegian Union visit:
Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 80 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.
We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of on-demand mobility.
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., – we have strategic locations around the globe. And with nearly one quarter of our workforce having served, helping our military achieve their missions is a passion of ours.
Above all, our breakthrough innovations deliver exceptional experiences to our customers. Efficiently. Reliably. And always, with safety at the forefront.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: www.textron.com.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellations or deferrals of orders; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers; changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of our products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; volatility in interest rates or foreign exchange rates; and risks related to our international business, including establishing and maintaining facilities in locations around the world and relying on joint venture partners, subcontractors, suppliers, representatives, consultants and other business partners in connection with international business, including in emerging market countries.