Most non-military helicopters tend to be small flying machines incapable of carrying more than a few passengers. Unveiled this weekend, the 525 "Relentless" is not most helicopters. Holding 16 passengers plus two crew, it's now the largest and most advanced civilian chopper ever built by Bell Helicopter.
This new helicopter was launched at the Heli-Expo 2012 in Dallas on Sunday night in front of a crowd of aviation enthusiasts and industry folks. We're guessing the average rotocraft unveil isn't quite so dramatic as the crowd seems seriously into it.
Bell's 525 is so large — it holds 16 passengers and two crew — they invented a category for it. It's a "Super Medium" that's as large a civilian helicopter you'll find before having to step up to something designed jointly for the civilian and military market like a Sikorsky S-92. Its five main rotor blades are powered by a pair of GE CT7-2F1 engines.
More than just space, the new 525 incorporates a new suite of advanced flying tools. The flight deck now includes Garmin touch-screen system and full fly-by-wire controls. The cockpit is designed to allow the pilots to see full around the nose of the vehicle to aid with landing.
With a projected top speed of around 160 mph and a range of around 450 miles it'll do exactly what it's built primarily to do: Carry workers and engineers back-and-forth from oil rigs around the world.