Agility and strength were all on display for an exclusive demonstration of the V-280 Valor.
“In a nutshell, it’s a lot of fun,” said Don Grove, Pilot.
It soars, it twirls and even fly sideways.
But there’s more to this aircraft than a few cool air tricks.
“It’s incredibly impressive when you look at the design and up close and you can see how well executed it is in the manufacturing of that design and you get a chance to watch the pilots who’ve trained so hard to actually operate the vehicles with such precision,” said Ginger Nelson, Amarillo Mayor.
One of those pilots being Don Grove.
He’s been a pilot for more than three decades and never imagined being behind the reins of something like this.
“When I came to work for Bell, this was still a classified program I didn’t even know about it. It wasn’t even in my far dreams. The future is here and you look at all the innovations that’s (sic) gone into this aircraft all the improvements all the lessons learned over the v-22 all their fly by wire aircraft have all gone into this aircraft and just made it a superior product,” said Grove.
We’re told this aircraft is designed to be smaller and more agile than the similar v-22.
“Very responsive, very agile and we’ve spent a lot of years preparing for this. We’ve been flying this for the last seven months. It’s built to be agile, it has a lot more controlled power in the rotors and that shows, hopefully, you saw that today as we demonstrated some of the agility of the aircraft,” said Grove.
Leaders like Mayor Nelson and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick were some of the politicians invited by Bell Helicopter to see all of this action first-hand.
Officials said the V-280 Valor can carry 14 troops, unlike the V-22 which can carry 24.
We’re told the former is better suited for smaller missions or as an armed escort to the V-22.
Two months ago, the V-280 Valor reached a milestone by taking its first-ever cruise mode flight and last December, the V-280 took its first flight.
The aircraft was officially unveiled at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America’s Annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Fort Worth.