World's First Civil Tiltrotor Achieves Significant Flight Test
The Bell/Agusta 609
completed its first flight with the landing gear up and the
proprotor nacelles at 60 degrees in flight testing at the Bell
Helicopter Xworx in Arlington, Texas.
"We believe conversion to full airplane mode is only a few
flights away," Executive Program Director Don Barbour told
reporters at the Paris Air Show.
The first gear up flight for the six to nine passenger tiltrotor
was completed Monday, June 13, with Bell/Agusta pilots Roy Hopkins
and Pietro Venanzi at the controls. With the nacelles at 60 degrees
and gear up the BA609 achieved a top speed Monday of 125 kts.
When the BA609 does achieve full airplane mode conversion it
will have a top speed of 275 kts., making it the fastest civil
vertical-lift aircraft in the world.
Bell/Agusta is a joint venture between Bell Helicopter, a
Textron company and Agusta/Westland. A second aircraft is scheduled
to fly before the end of the year.
A total of four test aircraft will be used for the flight test
program leading to certification and deliveries in 2008.