From the creation of the first certified commercial helicopter to introducing tiltrotor technology, Bell’s iconic legacy consists of revolutionary ideas that have disrupted industries. Today we continue this pursuit for coveted vertical lift products, evident through our unveiling of Bell's Electrically Distributed Anti-Torque (EDAT), an unconventional tail rotor with innumerable opportunities. In a Vertical Flight Society online webinar on Nov. 16, Bell’s Program Director for Light Aircraft, Eric Sinusas, shared potential applications for this latest innovation. “I think it has potential to potentially replace them [traditional tail rotors],” Sinusas said. “There are benefits to the system that the conventional system just does not have innately.”
This unprecedented technology was revealed in February 2020, sparking global interest from rotorcraft community and technology aficionados for its ingenuity. Since then, Bell continues to test the unique concept, which includes four electrical motors driving a fixed-pitch, rpm-controlled fan capable of operating speeds around 6,000 to 7,000 rpm. “I think we can say that we have successfully proven the concept… it works,” Sinusas says. “Now we’re into the phase of optimization and we’re fine-tuning the performance characteristics, pushing the envelope further.”
The all electric tail rotor reduces noise pollution, carbon emissions and operating cost. The system has been installed on a #Bell429 demonstrator aircraft at Bell’s facility in Mirabel, Quebec, and began flight testing on May 23, 2019. Since then, the aircraft has completed about 25 flight hours and gradually expanding its flight envelope.