Bell has flown a full-scale version of the Eagle Eye unmanned tiltrotor for the first time, completing two hover-only flights within a 1h period on 26 January. The TR918 pre-production aircraft, which has been in development since 2003, flew twice to demonstrate the tiltrotor’s stability and performance in ground, hover and attitude control modes. The flights were at the Xworx unmanned aircraft system flight-test facility in Graford, Texas.

Eagle Eye

The aircraft performed auto-landings, descending from about 35ft (10m), says Jon Rudy, Bell’s director of unmanned programmes business development. Both flights took place in 5-10kt (9-18km/h) winds. The flights were the first airborne operations for Bell’s Eagle Eye programme since 2000, when the 7/8th-scale TR911 prototype completed demonstrations, totalling 60h of flight time. The US Coast Guard has ordered 45 Eagle Eyes.

Source: Flight International