December 5, 2005
Bell Helicopter's Eagle Eye TR918 Unmanned Aircraft System Receives First
Ever FAA Certification for Testing of a Vertical Lift Unmanned Aircraft
FORT WORTH, TEXAS, USA ( Bell Helicopters Press Release) -
Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc., today announced that its Eagle Eye TR918 Unmanned Aircraft
System, or UAS, has received it's certificate of airworthiness for
experimental flight testing from the Federal Aviation Administration. This
certification represents the first certificate of airworthiness for
experimental flight-testing ever issued by the FAA to a vertical lift UAS.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment that many people from both Bell
Helicopter and the FAA have been working very hard to achieve," explained
Kevin Connell, Vice President of Bell Helicopter's XworX facility. "Not only
are we celebrating the certification of the Eagle Eye TR 918, but we are
also celebrating the fact that with this first ever certificate of
airworthiness for experimental testing of a vertical lift unmanned aircraft,
Bell Helicopter is once again leading the way in the vertical lift industry.
Flight testing will be conducted at a recently opened Bell XworX facility in
"This is another example of Bell Helicopter's leadership in vertical lift
technology," said Bell Helicopter Chief Executive Officer, Mike Redenbaugh.
The successful experimental flight certification of Bell's Eagle Eye TR918
UAS is the culmination of nearly a year of preparations, coordination and
cooperation between Bell Helicopter and the FAA.
"The approval of experimental flight certification by the FAA is an example
of government and industry teamwork," explained Bob Ellithorpe, Bell
Helicopter's Director of Unmanned Systems. "The FAA and Bell Helicopter
executed a detailed plan over the last several months that today yielded the
approval of an Experimental Flight Certification for the Eagle Eye TR918
UAS...we are now cleared to take to the air and begin flight test
During the certification process, an eight member team made of
representatives from FAA headquarters in Washington D.C. and the FAA
Southwest Region, scrutinized every aspect of the Eagle Eye program from
hardware and software to operational procedures and quality control.
"With this successful certification, we can now demonstrate to the world the
remarkable capability of a vertical lift, tiltrotor UAS like the Eagle Eye
TR918," Ellithorpe said. "This system will provide military and commercial
operators with multiple capabilities ranging from homeland security to
pipeline patrol. Ultimately, Bell's objective is to provide a family of
unmanned systems that give our customers the means to more effectively
accomplish their missions."
According the Redenbaugh, the Bell Helicopter funded Eagle Eye TR918 program
is a great example of Bell Helicopter and Textron's commitment to continue
to invest in vertical lift.
"This is a great example of Bell Helicopter continuing to advance the
overall strategy of being in both military and commercial business, in both
tilt rotors and helicopters and in both manned and unmanned aircraft,"
Bell Helicopter is a leading producer of commercial and military helicopters
and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally
recognized for customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's
global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in over 120
Textron Inc. is a $10 billion multi-industry company with 44,000 employees
in 40 countries. The company leverages its global network of aircraft,
industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative
solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful
brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming,
E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others.
News: Bell Eagle Eye completes autoland tests ( May 17, 2000 )
News: Bell Eagle Eye Team UAV partners named ( Nov 7, 1999 )