ORLANDO, 6 March 2015. AgustaWestland has completed an extended technology development flight test program on the AW609 TiltRotor aircraft, confirming an increase in the maximum take-off weight up to 18,000 pounds (8,165 kg) as a result of engine upgrades, landing gear modifications, and optimized flight control techniques.
These test results validate a sizeable increase in useful load that provides users with the capability to fly 500 nm point-to-point with a full load of nine passengers in two hours, officials explain.
To further enhance mission capabilities, underwing auxiliary fuel tanks are being developed to increase range and endurance and ensure that the additional take-off performance may be built into a wide array of mission profiles. These will permit the aircraft to boost its maximum range to 1,100 nm (2,038 km) and allow users to transport six passengers over a range of 800 nm (1,482 km) in a little over three hours.
The cabin door is also being enlarged on all variants to improve access, in particular for search and rescue (SAR) and emergency medical services (EMS) operations.
In the cockpit, the AW609 will have a new integrated Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion flight deck, combined with upgraded flight computers and sensors, to provide pilots with the very latest features to manage and monitor flight activities and make flying safer.
With nearly 1,200 flight hours logged by the first two prototypes and two more aircraft being readied for certification testing, the AW609 program development is progressing to plan and is focused on FAA civil certification in 2017. Almost 60 customers have already chosen the AW609 globally to perform several missions such as offshore transport, patrol and search and rescue, executive/private transport and government roles.