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Another Presidential Test Helicopter Takes to the Air

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NAVAIR PATUXENT RIVER, MD -- Test Vehicle 3, the third helicopter built for

the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program, made its initial

flight Feb. 27 in Yeovil, England marking the fourth helicopter to enter

flight test.


TV-3 is due to arrive at the Presidential Helicopter Support Facility here

on Mar. 17 and will then travel to Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in

Owego, N.Y. for final assembly and mission systems integration. TV-3 will be

the first vehicle tested that is outfitted with mission systems.

Once missionized TV-3 will join the other three test vehicles, TV-1, TV-2

and TV-5 already in flight testing that have accumulated more than 650 total

hours of flight test.

As a missionized aircraft, TV-3 will be able to validate in-flight data,

which has previously only been evaluated in laboratories. One additional

test vehicle is scheduled for flight testing and missionization after TV-3

before the initial lot of production aircraft are delivered to Patuxent


With fuel system testing already complete, VH-71 flight test officials are

currently concentrating on satellite communications and high-powered FM

Radio testing with tail rotor and flight load survey testing on the horizon.

In addition to forward movement on flight testing of Increment 1 test

vehicles, which currently meet or exceed all key performance parameters, a

parallel and concurrent effort supporting the flight test program is the

Systems Integration Lab currently operational at the Presidential Helicopter

Support Facility.

The SIL consists of test benches used to evaluate individual subsystems

currently in development. A larger SIL facility at Lockheed Martin Systems

Integration in Owego, NY includes a master systems bench -- a full-scale

functional mockup of the VH-71 cockpit and cabin. The systems integration

laboratories allow VH-71 program engineers to test VH-71 avionics and

mission systems prior to installation aboard the aircraft.

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