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Monday March 29, 2002

Bell Helicopter H-1 Flight Test Update

Fort Worth, Texas, USA ( Bell Helicopter Press Release ) - Flight testing for the US Marine Corps' H-1 helicopter upgrade program continues to score substantial milestone achievements.

The H-1 Upgrade Program will modify 100 UH-1N Hueys and 180 AH-1W SuperCobras into highly sophisticated state-of-the-art aircraft with enormous commonality between both aircraft to enhance maintenance and logistics support. Both aircraft will have a maximum gross weight of 18,500 pounds and be able to operate at twice the payload and at least twice the range as the current UH-1N and AH-1W helicopters. In addition to the enormous advantages of commonality, the H-1 program lifecycle costs are substantially less than any other aircraft combination.

The first upgraded Huey, designated the UH-1Y, has achieved 190 knots in a shallow dive and 166 knots in straight and level flight. Since the first UH-1Y, known as Y-1 completed its first flight in December 2001, the aircraft has made 50 flights accumulating in excess of 44 hours of flight time, and is the first Glass Cockpit Huey with a fully Integrated Avionics System (IAS) installed and working flawlessly. In addition to achieving 166 knots indicated air speed (KIAS) in level flight, Y-1 has also been flown 25 knots sideward, 20 knots rearwards with maneuvering up to 30 degrees angle of bank. All of the testing thus far on the UH-1Y has been conducted at Bell's Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas. Y-1 and its follow on ship, Y-2, currently in the final stages of pre-flight testing, will both be transferred to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, later this year where it will join its sister ship, the AH-1Z, for continuing flight testing with the fully integrated Bell Helicopter and US Naval Air Systems Command, flight test team.

The AH-1Z is a major upgrade to the AH-1W SuperCobra, the frontline dedicated attack helicopter for the Marine Corps which, since its introduction to the fleet in 1986, has seen action in every conflict involving Marines from Desert Storm to Afghanistan.

The first AH-1Z, Z-1, completed its initial flight in December 2000 and since that time has made in excess of 200 sorties accumulating over 224 hours of flight time. The AH-1Z has already achieved 222 knots maximum airspeed and 160 knots cruise. In addition the AH-1Z has been flown at 10,000 feet altitude. The aircraft has also achieved 45 knots backwards flight and 45 knots sideward flight. Its follow on aircraft, Z-2 and Z-3, are in the final stages of pre-flight testing in preparation for their first flights later this spring at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

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