NEWS | Bell UH-1Y Venom in US US Marine Corps

First flight of 2nd UH-1Y prototype

2nd UH-1Y prototype darkens MD skies

US Naval Air systems Command (NAVAIR), September 23, 2002 - PATUXENT RIVER, MD - The H-1 Upgrade Program came one step closer to its unofficial goal of "darkening the Maryland skies with H-1's" Friday when the fourth of five AH-1Z and UH-1Y prototypes made its first flight here.

Flown by Maj. Pat Lindauer and Bell Helicopter test pilot Gregg Shimp, both members of the H-1 Integrated Test Team here, the one-hour flight of the second UH-1Y prototype, known as Yankee 2, confirmed operation and controllability of aircraft systems before proceeding with further testing.

Although initially scheduled to begin cooling and temperature surveys and automatic flight control system development testing, Yankee 2 is slated to be the main avionics testbed for the program, according to Vic DiSanto, H-1 Program (PMA-276) systems engineer.

"All the H-1 Upgrade prototypes, except for Zulu 1, pretty much have the same avionics package," he said. "But Yankee 2 will be the primary avionics testbed."

Other specific testing scheduled for Yankee 2 includes testing of the new HFC-125 fire extinguishing system - a more environmentally suitable system than the current Halon entinguishers - according to DiSanto.

Additionally, Yankee 2 is the only UH-1Y prototype scheduled to conduct sea trials. Scheduled to begin in December, 2003, sea trials testing "spot checks" the helicopter's ability to land and operate in the shipboard environment, DiSanto explained. Extensive shipboard evaluation will take place later during operational testing, scheduled to begin in August, 2004.

To date, UH-1Y aircraft have logged more than 97 flight hours and 150 rotor turn hours. AH-1Z aircraft have logged approximately 360 flight hours and 600 rotor turn hours.

Specific testing currently underway by the H-1 Upgrades ITT here includes:

Zulu 1 continues testing for high altitude envelope expansion, elevator tuning and finalization of the Low Airspeed Air Data System probe placement.

Zulu 2, the most heavily instrumented of the prototypes, is in the final prep-for-flight phase, and is expected to fly by early October.

Zulu 3 has flown 3.5 flight hours and is currently in the hangar for block modifications, which include cockpit seat relocation, installation of 4th axis AFCS, hydraulic cooler upgrades, installation of avionics cooling provisions and redesigned wing tip fairings. Zulu 3 is scheduled to resume flying in mid-October.

The Lockheed Martin Target Sight System achieved its first powered flight on Zulu 3 August 26 with very positive results.

Yankee 1 continues high-altitude envelope expansion and Stability and Control Augmentation System tuning.

The software running the integrated systems on the aircraft, version 2.3, is currently installed in all aircraft but Zulu 1. Build 2.4 is in test in both the Northrop-Grumman (California) and Bell (here) software integration labs.

The H-1 Upgrade Program here is upgrading the Marine Corps' aging fleet of combat utility and attack helicopters by remanufacturing UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Super Cobras to share a common drive train, rotor head, tail boom, avionics, software and controls for 84 percent commonality between the two aircraft.

Over the 30-year expected lifespan of the aircraft, this commonality is projected to save the Marine Corps approximately $3 Billion in operating and support costs.

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Bell UH-1Y Venom in US US Marine Corps

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