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Wed, Feb 19, 2020

Bell Autonomous Pod Transport 70 Achieves First BVLOS Flight

Conducted under the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP)

On Jan. 16, the Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) 70 flew its first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight path 10 miles at Choctaw Nation test site under the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP).

The vehicle also completed an 18 mile flight with 60lbs of payload at Bell’s testing site near Fort Worth, Texas.

To date, the APT 70 flight test program has completed over 120 flights. The program will continue to test the vehicles’ endurance, range capabilities, and expand the mission sets.

“Our partnership with Choctaw under the UASIPP has allowed us to push the boundaries on our eVTOL technology,” said John Wittmaak, program manager, UAS. “By unlocking new performance capabilities, APT 70 will provide unparalleled mission sets for our customers.”

APT 70 is part of the eVTOL family of vehicles Bell is developing and can reach speeds of more than 100mph and has a baseline payload capability of 70 lbs. Bell’s APT systems allow for flexible mission capabilities while keeping operations simple, efficient and fast; they are capable of twice the speed and range of a conventional multirotor. The vehicle is designed for rapid deployment, quick reconfiguration, and nimble battery swap and recharge.

Through the NASA Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) demonstration activity, Bell will use the APT 70 to demonstrate a simulated commercial mission in the national airspace system and conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight operations. The demonstration is expected to be held in mid-2020.

Bell is also in collaboration with Yamato, a Japanese third-party logistics provider, to integrate Yamato’s package handling system into APT 70 providing an exceptional customer experience for on-demand logistics services. The Bell and Yamato team conducted a demonstration today showcasing their systems working together in preparation for entry into service anticipated by the early-2020s.

(Image provided with Bell news release)

FMI: www.bellflight.com

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