Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 11 seconds.
For the better part of three years, Bell has been flying the V-280 Valor advanced tiltrotor in anticipation of the U.S. Army choosing a Future Vertical Lift aircraft to replace its workhorse UH-60 Black Hawk.
The experimental prototype originally developed under the Army’s Joint Multirole Technology Demonstration (JMR-TD) program is now one of two aircraft enrolled in the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program to do just that.
Still flying weekly for both in-house data gathering and demonstration, Valor has racked up more than 180 flight hours, according to Don Grove, Bell’s chief tiltrotor test pilot and lead test pilot for the V-280. It has surpassed its namesake 280 knots to achieve speeds well beyond conventional helicopters.
But what is it like in the cockpit? How long does it take to transition from helicopter-like hover to speedy forward airplane mode? How does the next-gen Valor compare to the V-22 Osprey or the Black Hawk it might replace?