Bell Helicopter's fourth development ARH-70A armed reconnaissance helicopter crashed on a golf course after losing power 30min into its first flight from the company's Arlington, Texas test centre on 21 February.

A source says a low-fuel warning light illuminated, but it is not known if the sensor was on the fuel tank or the Honeywell HTS900-1 engine.

The pilot autorotated on to the golf course but, on landing, the skids dug in and broke off. The helicopter tipped over and two of the rotor blades struck the ground. The two crew were uninjured, and the heavily damaged helicopter was later moved to Bell's facility for examination.

Bell suspended flights with the other three ARH-70s while the crash was investigated. The accident is not expected to affect the programme, although it is already almost a year behind schedule.

ARH Crash
 Helicopter was on first flight

Source: Flight International