AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the AW609 TiltRotor has flown 1100nm (2000km) from its base in Arlington, Texas, to Long Beach Airport, California to perform the first ever customer demonstration flights at Heli-Expo 2014. The AW609 will highlight its game changing capabilities and performance that will soon be available to the commercial marketplace.
During the ferry flight to Long Beach the prototype made a ground breaking flight, taking off vertically from Mesa, Arizona, and completing a vertical landing at Long Beach Airport, California, after flying more than 320nm (580km) in just 1hr and 35mins (with 15-20kt headwind).
Daniele Romiti, AgustaWestland’s CEO said “No other civil vertical lift-capable aircraft is able to perform such a mission profile. This is just one example of the capabilities of this aircraft type and points to the capability of the tiltrotor to revolutionize commercial aviation.”
After departure from Mesa the AW609 climbed to 20,000 feet, with an average climb rate of 1500 feet per minute, and cruised at 250 knots TAS enroute to Long Beach. In fixed wing cruise mode the vibration levels are very low, making the AW609 a great aircraft to fly in as a pilot or passenger.
The AW609, with its pressurized cabin, can fly above the weather at up to 25,000ft, with comfort levels similar to that provided by today’s turboprop fixed wing aircraft, with the advantage of being able to land on any helipad capable of taking a helicopter of the same weight class. With a cruise speed typically twice that of a helicopter, the AW609 can dramatically reduce journey times and fly up to 750 nm and will provide operators with new capabilities and opportunities.
While at Heli-Expo, AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Company has been permitted to allow a number of pilots to experience the unique capabilities of the AW609 and test the user-friendly handling of this tiltrotor, made possible by the digital fly-by-wire flight control system.
The AW609, the world’s first commercial tiltrotor, is on schedule to achieve FAA civil certification in 2017.
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