Two people are dead in Ellis County, Texas after a fiery experimental helicopter crash.
An experimental twin-engine Bell Helicopter 525 Relentless, with two people aboard, crashed at about 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday while performing flight test operations, NBC 5 News reports. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are both investigating what caused the crash. Both of the passengers on the aircraft were killed at the time of the accident.
The experimental helicopter was still in the testing phase and used a new kind of rotor system. Investigators will likely be looking into whether there was a problem with that system as well. Much of the helicopter’s debris was localized to the crash site, though parts of the helicopter were spotted hundreds of feet away. The crash site is approximately 45 miles south of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
According to information from Popular Mechanics:
• The Bell 525 Relentless, first unveiled in 2012, is a medium-lift helicopter known in part for the luxurious options that will be available for its interior but also its fly-by-wire system.
• Like many planes, the 525 would be controlled by a computer that takes input from the pilot instead of taking input directly, through mechanical means.
• It’s tech that has come to both airplanes and spacecraft, but hasn’t quite made the jump to helicopters just yet, and this accident may further delay the progress.