Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor Makes its First Flight

A tiltrotor aircraft is able to take off vertically like a helicopter and then rotate its engines to fly like an airplane.

V-280

Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter announced that its new V-280 Valor tilt rotor aircraft achieved its first flight this week, bringing Bell a step closer to realizing the new generation of vertical lift aircraft for the U.S. military.

Bell, a Textron Inc. company, said the V-280 is designed to offer unmatched agility, speed, range, and payload capabilities at an affordable cost. If adopted by the military, it could replace several existing helicopters currently in use.

“The Valor is designed to revolutionize vertical lift for the U.S. Army and represents a transformational aircraft for all the challenging missions our armed forces are asked to undertake.”
Mitch Snyder

“First flight demonstrates our commitment to supporting Department of Defense leadership’s modernization priorities and acquisition reform initiatives,” Bell Helicopter CEO and President Mitch Snyder said in a release. “The Valor is designed to revolutionize vertical lift for the U.S. Army and represents a transformational aircraft for all the challenging missions our armed forces are asked to undertake.” 

A tiltrotor aircraft is able to take off vertically like a helicopter and then rotate its engines to fly like an airplane.

Bell said the V-280 Valor program is part of the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator initiative of the Defense Department, the science and technology precursor to the department’s Future Vertical Lift program. 

The Valor is designed to offer commanders operational agility to self-deploy and perform a variety of vertical lift missions that aren’t yet achievable in one aircraft, Bell said in the release. 

Bell innovated the tiltrotor technology in the V-22 Osprey aircraft currently operational in the U.S. military. 

V-280

The V-280 Valor hovers just above the ground during its first flight. [Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter]

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