Fri, Jan 27, 2006
Bell Helicopter's TR918
Eagle Eye Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) lifted off the ground for
the first time Thursday when it achieved the first flight milestone
in this ground breaking, vertical-lift unmanned aircraft program.
At 8:54 a.m. (CST) the vehicle lifted vertically off the ground
hovered for nine minutes, executed yaw and translation maneuvers
and then landed safely on the ground. The vehicle flew a second
flight within 30 minutes of the maiden flight's landing.
"This is a tremendous achievement for Bell Helicopter and our
Team Eagle Eye partners," said Mike Redenbaugh, chief executive
officer of Bell Helicopter.
"An immense amount of effort and dedication has gone into
getting this aircraft in the air successfully." According to Bob
Ellithorpe, executive director of Bell's Unmanned Aircraft Systems,
reaching this milestone was worth all the hard work and then
"Eagle Eye offers a capability never seen in the UAS industry,"
"In the hands of our Coast Guard Homeland Defenders and all
other potential users, Eagle Eye will successfully accomplish a
number of critical missions including the most important mission,
saving lives. Reaching this first flight milestone puts us one step
closer to getting this unmatched capability in the field,"
First flight of the TR918 comes on the heels of recently
receiving a certificate of airworthiness for experimental
flight-testing from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The TR918 test program will continue advancing the tilt rotor
nacelles to full airplane mode and increasing speed and payload
"There is a lot of hard work ahead for the Eagle Eye development
and testing team," Ellithorpe said. "But, today we are going to
celebrate this first flight achievement."
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