DELUXE IN-FLIGHT EXPERIENCE
Altitudes speaks to Patrick Moulay, Senior Vice President, Bell Commercial Business – International about the Bell 525 Relentless.
Bell has been reimagining the experience of flight for more than 80 years, solving real-life challenges around the world with cutting edge technology. As a pioneer of the rotorcraft industry, Bell built the first aircraft that broke the sound barrier and certified the first commercial helicopter. But that’s all in the past and now Bell is reimagining the future of flight and the brand is about to bring its newest commercial helicopter to market, the Bell 525 Relentless.
While the Bell 525 offers customers a generational leap forward with fly-by-wire flight controls and industry leading drive system performance, it also boasts an unrivalled cabin space that gives the VIP market the room to craft beautiful, bespoke interiors. The Bell 525 sets a new standard for helicopter VIP transport, designed to provide unprecedented performance, head-turning exterior lines and a distinctly smooth and quiet ride.
LUXURY LIFT OFF
As part of Bell’s luxury helicopter line, a new innovative interior has been designed by Mecaer Aviation Group (MAG), an acclaimed designer and manufacturer of high-end cabin comfort systems, with enhanced amenities tailored for Bell 525 Relentless customers.
“The Bell 525 is taking luxury helicopter transport to a new level,” said Patrick Moulay, Senior Vice President, Commercial Business – International for Bell. “Along with the magnificent interior, the Bell 525 provides an unprecedented level of luxury, style, and comfort and introduces enhanced features and technology that set the Bell 525 apart from any other VIP aircraft.”
MAG provides Bell 525 customers with multiple options and configurations for this interior. Customers can choose from a variety of finishings and seating configurations with options, including: an in-flight entertainment enhanced lounge (I-FEEL), with working internal wi-fi, moving maps, audio/video functions, ambient light controls, and ICS isolation, all of which may be controlled from the user’s paired smart device or smartwatch, allowing ease of conducting business; electro-chromic window controls that fade from clear to full tint and are controlled by a paired smart device or smartwatch to provide a tailor-made environment; a speech interference level enhanced noise system (SILENS) interior panel with a limousine-style privacy window, providing a cabin so quiet passengers can have conversations without wearing headsets; large central-and aft-facing cabinets with additional storage and monitors that retract into the console, and provide customisable additional options for the owner’s needs.
This new interior for the Bell 525 Relentless provides customers with the latest advancements in ergonomic design, noise perception, functionality and comfort. It truly is the perfect blend of style and technology.
A WORLD-FIRST: FLY-BY-WIRE TECHNOLOGY
The Bell 525 will be the first commercial helicopter 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. The Bell 525 rotor drive system will set a new industry benchmark for robustness and run-dry capability, this minimises single point failures and complies with the latest EASA rules for run-dry performance.
The aircraft is also equipped with the most advanced integrated vehicle health management (IVHM) and 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.
The aircraft will also be the first commercial helicopter to incorporate the intuitive Garmin G5000H, a touchscreen avionics suite for enhanced situational awareness that reduces hand and eye movements for the pilot in the flight deck.
BELL 525 AT DUBAI’S VIP TERMINAL
A full-scale mock-up of the Bell 525 is currently on display at the Dubai South VIP Terminal, until the first week of November, giving passengers transiting through the airport a unique opportunity to experience the next generation in helicopter interiors. The mock-up will then be on static display at the Dubai Air Show Chalet # A43-45.
Altitudes Global sat with Patrick Moulay to discuss his plans for Bell International in the Middle East and innovative technologies on the horizon.
Tell us about Bell in the Middle East?
The Middle East has always been a key region for Bell. We have been delivering aircraft in the UAE and beyond to our customers for decades. In the UAE, Bell helicopters are used to train all the pilots in the region at the Horizon International Flight Academy. Some are transporting personnel for the oil and gas industry operated by Abu Dhabi Aviation and Falcon Aviation and many are used for public safety with the Abu Dhabi Police and Sharjah Police. We also have light attack aircraft operated by the Joint Aviation Command. We have consistently been present in the region, helping our customers successfully deliver their missions and we will continue to do so in the future.
What is next for the Middle East when it comes to commercial helicopters for private transport?
We are very excited because we have two new helicopter types entering the market for corporate travel. The Bell 505 is our entry-level aircraft and we have already delivered more than 200 worldwide.
The aircraft is extremely cost-effective to run and we are seeing interest from Middle East customers for various applications. It can be configured for single or dual pilot use, has a dual FADEC engine, a full glass cockpit, so it’s a nice aircraft for the price point.
At the top end of our commercial portfolio, we have the Bell 525, which is a 16 to 19 seat helicopter coming to market. It’s probably the most advanced commercial helicopter that has ever been developed. It is the first commercial helicopter with fly-by-wire controls and we believe it’s a game-changer. In the Middle East, we see opportunity for the aircraft on the corporate VIP segment, but that will be a niche for customers who are looking for the ultimate in terms of safety, comfort, speed and of course, luxury. Indeed, if you would like to see it, the aircraft is currently on display at the Dubai South VIP Terminal in front of Jet Aviation. You can’t miss it.
What new technologies can we come to expect?
We will see new technologies that will enhance the safety standards of the industry, such as fly-by-wire, preventive maintenance, overall improved efficiency, all features that will greatly benefit operators. We are currently in the process of certifying these technologies for the Bell 525, which are outstanding and will make a huge difference for operators. As road congestion continues to rise and space on the ground becomes limited, we must also solve transportation challenges through flight – and that’s where Bell’s urban air mobility vision comes into play. This is a bit further down the line, but the development is happening right now.
What can we expect from Bell in the Middle East?
We are very focused on continuing to improve our aftermarket support in all corners of the world. As our installed fleet continues to grow, we want to ensure that we are delivering innovative and timely solutions to support our customers, such as our Customer Advantage Plans, providing cost predictability and transparency while protecting aircraft value over time. We are also continuing to grow and improve our network of approved maintenance centres to provide local service and support.