ROME, 11 August 2016. The first flying prototype of the Leonardo-Finmeccanica AW609 tiltrotor aircraft has resumed flight testing, and is on track to achieve certification in 2018, officials say. The AW609 departed from Arlington, Texas; made an overnight stop in Huntsville, Alabama; and arrived in Philadelphia.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica has expanded the AW609 TiltRotor program to include the company’s Philadelphia facility. Involvement of the Philadelphia site in the AW609 program represents the anticipated progression towards assembly and certification with the FAA as the certification authority, officials explain. Facilities in Italy, the United Kingdom, and Poland continue to play critical production roles.
While this flying prototype will soon be relocated to Italy, flight testing activities in Philadelphia will continue upon the arrival of an AW609 recently assembled and ground tested in Italy. Another
AW609 is being assembled in Philadelphia with plans to enter the test fleet in 2017. Certification of the first commercial tiltrotor is expected in 2018, with deliveries to customers to follow.
The flight characteristics of the AW609 combine the benefits of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft into one aircraft. Flying above adverse weather conditions with up to nine people in comfort or a combination of stretchers and medical attendants in a pressurized cabin with turboprop-like speed and performance, the AW609 represents the next generation of aircraft transport.
With agreements for nearly 60 units from customers around the world, including the intention of the UAE Joint Aviation Command to take delivery of three aircraft, the AW609 is capable of diverse missions, including patrol and search and rescue, offshore transport, executive/private transport, and homeland security. Development agreements are in place with Bristow Group and Era Group, for offshore and EMS variants, respectively.
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