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Bell begins HSVTOL risk reduction testing

September 14, 2023  By Wings Staff

Bell’s full-scale HSVTOL sled testing platform represents first of its kind capability for vertical lift aircraft. (Photo: Bell Textron)

Bell Textron delivered a High-Speed Vertical Takeoff and Landing (HSVTOL) test article to Holloman Air Force Base, located six miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico, for demonstration and technology evaluation. The team there will leverage the Arnold Engineering Development Complex Holloman High Speed Test Track to test the folding rotor, integrated propulsion and flight control technologies at representative flight speeds.

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“The HSVTOL test article delivery and start of sled testing operations serves as a major milestone in our mission to develop the next generation of high-speed vertical lift aircraft,” said Jason Hurst, executive vice president, Engineering, Bell. “Bell plans to showcase HSVTOL technology informed by more than 85 years of high-speed rotorcraft development and leverage lessons learned to produce a flying prototype with game-changing capabilities.”

Bell explains the objective of its sled test operations is to validate key technologies through a full-scale, integrated demonstration in a representative operating environment. Bell plans for the test article to execute a series of HSVTOL high-speed transition maneuvers, a first of its kind capability for vertical lift aircraft. Prior to delivery at Holloman Air Force Base, Bell completed functional demonstrations at its Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas.


Bell’s High-Speed Vertical Takeoff and Landing (HSVTOL) technology blends the hover capability of a helicopter with the speed (400-plus kts), range, and survivability of jet aircraft. Bell has developed high-speed vertical lift technology for more than 85 years, pioneering VTOL configurations like the X-14, X-22, XV-3 and XV-15 for NASA, the U.S Army and U.S. Air Force, and continues to build on its proven history of fast flight from the Bell X-1.


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