AW-609 tilt-rotor (airplane+helicopter): third prototype closer to maiden flight following ground run
Rome, Italy - Its certification is expected in 2018
Leonardo-Finmeccanica announced yesterday that the third prototype (A/C3) of the AgustaWestland AW-609 TiltRotor (airplane+helicopter) has completed its first ground run at the company’s facilities in Cascina Costa (Varese), Italy, marking a critical milestone as the programme advances its testing and plans a resumption of flight testing activities. Aircraft AW-609 A/C3 began restrained ground run testing with all engines and systems operating. These tests prepare the prototype for FAA certification flight testing this summer at the company’s Philadelphia facility, where it will demonstrate that its capabilities satisfy a stringent set of airworthiness standards for the world’s first commercial powered lift aircraft. Taking off and landing vertically, the AW-609 is capable of flying within an envelope that includes cruise conditions up to 275 knots, at an altitude of 25,000 feet in a pressurized cabin, for missions with ranges up to 1000nm with available fuel options. This aircraft will mark a new era in civil aviation. Testing plans for the A/C3 also include icing trials in the winter of 2016 to demonstrate its capabilities in known icing conditions. These high standard design features allow the AW-609 to perform a host of missions not previously achievable with any other commercial aircraft. The ground run of the third prototype followed a restarting of test activities of the first prototype (A/C1) on April 15, 2016. The fourth prototype A/C4 is undergoing assembly 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 unique flight characteristics of the AgustaWestland AW-609 combine the benefits of a helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane 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 AW-609 represents the next generation of aircraft transport. With almost 60 units required by customers around the world, including selection by the UAE Joint Aviation Command expected to start taking deliveries of three aircraft in 2019, the AW-609 is capable of diverse missions, including patrol and search and rescue, off-shore transport, executive/private transport and homeland security roles. Development agreements are in place with Bristow Group and Era Group, for off-shore and EMS variants, respectively".
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