The experimental Bell V-280 Valor has completed the first cruise flight. The company released the video showing the tilt-rotor aircraft with its propellers tilted forward for the first time at the Amarillo, Texas facility. It reached a top speed of 190 knots (218 mph) during the test. The Bell V-280 Valot is being developed as a part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) initiative by the US Department of Defense.
It had its maiden flight on December 18, 2017, and the first cruise flight marks a major milestone in its development. The maiden flight only saw it rise from the ground untethered for the first time to execute a hovering maneuver before returning back to the ground.
The aircraft has resulted from the partnership between Lockheed Martin, GE, Moog, IAI, TRU Simulation & Training, Astronics, Eaton, GKN Aerospace, Lord, Meggitt, and Spirit AeroSystems.That is a lot of names and they have all come together to make improvements in all aspects of the plane. It makes use of composites in honeycomb sandwich configurations that make it possible for engineers to achieve a 30 % improvement in weight savings.
The website, FlightGlobal, states that Glenn Isbell, the vice-president of rapid prototyping and manufacturing innovation with Bell says that the next step is to reach speeds of 280 knots. You can check out the cruise flight in the video below: