In 2014, Bell Helicopter unveiled the 505 Jet Ranger X light helicopter. It is a single-engine, turbine helicopter.
Its first flight happened later in 2014.
The US manufacturer managed to deliver units of the helicopter to its customers in a little over two-and-a-half years, having shipped the first example of the short-light-single in March 2017 and reached the 100-unit mark in June 2018.
The Bell 505 is a “clean sheet” design, but uses some dynamic components, such as the rotor system of the Bell 206L-4.
The Jet Ranger X is a five-seat, two-blade, short light single (SLS) helicopter.
The 505 is manufactured with a mixture of metal and composite materials and is the first SLS helicopter to incorporate a fully integrated glass cockpit, in its case the Garmin G1000H.
It is powered by a new Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine with dual channel full-authority digital engine control.
The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X has a maximum speed of 125 knots, a travel range of 333 nautical miles at 4,000 feet, and a service ceiling of 18,610 at 1,670 kg. It has a maximum takeoff and landing weight of 2,030 kg and a maximum payload of 680 kg.
The Jet Ranger X is designed to meet a wide variety of missions with its fully flat floor, increased cabin volume and clam shell doors.
The above-mentioned Garmin G1000H Integrated Avionics Suite provides pilots critical flight information at a glance to maximize situational awareness.
It has no weaponry on board, as it is a light transport helicopter, which can be used to either deploy small teams or deliver small shipments of weapons or ammunition if used in a combat scenario.
They, however, appear to be predominantly used for coastal and border protection and more internal (police or the like) operations.
The unveiling of the helicopter itself was no shock, since Bell had announced its intention to create such a light helicopter for a while.
The 505 Jet Ranger X is a sort of successor of the 206B JetRanger, which was a very successful model, taken out of production back in 2009. There is also a bigger version of the older JetRanger – the LongRanger.
Although the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X pulls from the heritage of the JetRanger, the commonalities between the models are few.
The rotor and drive systems are identical to those of the 206L4 LongRanger, with millions of flight hours on record.
The rotor system is a high inertia rotor, which allows for better autorotation capabilities enabling smoother landings in case of an engine failure.
In total, as of 2019, approximately 200 units have been built, the majority of which are operated by the US, but a handful of countries such as Canada, Brazil, Japan and South Africa operate a few.
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