Bell's 525 Relentless completed its first flight using SAF in the summer of 2021. Bell had first incorporated SAF in its training and demonstration fleet in March 2021.
“The Bell 525 continues to demonstrate unprecedented performance as it progresses through flight testing,” says vice president of flight Doug May. “Showcasing the aircraft's usage of SAF further reinforces its position as a true 21st century aircraft, capable of bringing more sustainable practices to the industry and future customers.”
Bell sources this fuel from Avfuel and is the fuel provider's first rotorcraft customer to use and complete flights with SAF. This brand of biofuel, Neste MY SAF, is made from renewable, sustainably sourced waste and residue materials. Once blended, Avfuel anticipates a 22 metric ton reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions per truck load.
Bell's SAF initiative supports Textron's Achieve 2025 Sustainable Footprint goal for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the enterprise, among other sustainability initiatives.
“At Bell, our goal is to set the standard for clean aviation and pave the way for a greener future by minimising our operational impact," adds executive vice president, innovation and commercial business Michael Thacker. "This is a major milestone in our sustainability journey, and we look forward to implementing more carbon emission reduction practices in the future."
The Bell 525 team is currently engaged with the FAA on Type Inspection Authorisation flight testing and is submitting certification artefacts to the FAA in parallel. The aircraft is designed to support long range missions, including oil and gas, and offers a significant reduction in fuel consumption compared to other large twin-engine aircraft commonly used for offshore operations. Bell will continue to use SAF for Bell 525 test flights when SAF availability and flight test schedules allow for refueling opportunities.