In this year’s Best of the Best, we continue to honour the brands and people who have continued to create covetable products, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Here we have the Bell 525 win ‘best executive helicopter’ in the wings and water category
The clean-sheet design on Bell’s 525 promises to set new standards in the executive helicopter segment. Expected to be certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration this year, the chopper has impressive statistics. It’s 29 per cent quieter, with windows that are up to 40 per cent larger than one competitor’s, and its baggage hold is 50 per cent larger than another’s. Ninety-five per cent of the main rotor vibrations are isolated from the airframe.
More perks, like a best-in-class speed of 160 knots (with an upper limit of 175 knots), a range of 580 nautical miles at 145 knots, fly-by-wire flight controls and the first helicopter application of Garmin’s G5000H avionics suite (with an intuitive and comprehensive touchscreen system), translate to a new level of flight experience.
The 525’s VIP versions, which range from four to 10 cabin seats, will have bespoke interiors by Mecaer Aviation. The completions centre outside Milan has earned a well-deserved reputation for the meticulous, intricate work of its helicopter interiors. The 525 will also have premium options such as a telescopic table with pop-up monitor or a central cabinet with an extractable table.
That 580-nautical-mile range makes it a serious but comfortable long-distance commuter, while the fly-by-wire controls, avionics and side-stick placement give pilots the kind of 21st-century flight experience typically found in private jets.