Bell has received certification permitting high-altitude operations of its 505 Jet Ranger X light-single, following a series of demonstration flights earlier this year.

The airframer says the 505, which is powered by a single Safran Helicopter Engines Arrius 2R, is now cleared for operations up to a density altitude of 22,500ft, an increase on the previous limit of 16,000ft.

Earlier this year, the 505 performed a high-altitude test campaign in Nepal, which included numerous take-offs and landings between 18,000ft and 18,500ft.

"The Bell 505 is the most advanced short light single helicopter in the world, and we are proud to bring more performance to our operator's missions,” states LaShan Bonaparte, programme director, Bell 505 and Bell 429.

"High-altitude demonstrations are another testament to the aircraft's ability to perform in the most demanding environments, across a variety of segments."

The global fleet of 505s has now passed the 13,000-flight-hour mark, says Bell.