Team Valor Lands Award for Best Flight Test Paper

During the 49th International Symposium of Flight Test Engineers, the Bell V-280 Valor team received the best paper award in the category for “Certification at Warp Speed.” The paper, “V-280 Valor First Flight Build-up:  Preparing for a Technology Demonstration” explains how the V-280 worked through a deliberate program schedule to achieve its first flight nearly a year ago.


This paper exemplified the symposium theme of “Tomorrow’s Flight Test.” The Bell team showed how they, alongside all of Team Valor, applied experimental risk management to prepare for, and execute the build-up testing required to achieve first flight of this revolutionary technology demonstrator in a short period of time.

Video of that historic flight:

The team explained throughout the program the goal was to inform the requirements and reduce risk for a Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program of record. The paper also offered conclusions from their work that could impact future flight testing efforts and the importance of flexibility during flight test execution.

Colin Miller, Gulfstream Vice President of Flight Operations (left) presents the award to Bell's Kevin Christensen and Errick Smith.

Please join us in congratulating the paper authors:

  • Errick Smith, Experimental Flight Test Engineer
  • Kevin Christensen, Test & Evaluation Manager
  • Don Grove, Tiltrotor Chief Pilot
  • Paul Ryan, Experimental Test Pilot

About Bell

Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 85 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 advanced air 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.

About Textron

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, Pipistrel, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, and Textron Systems. For more information, visit:

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