July 22, 2005
World's first civil tiltrotor, BA609 reaches nearly 220 mph
With first full conversion to airplane mode
Arlington, Texas, USA ( Bell/Agusta Press Release ) -
The Bell/Agusta 609 tiltrotor
streaked over the skies of Central Texas today with its outboard nacelles
rotating forward to full airplane mode for the first time. Roy Hopkins,
609 project pilot and Bell pilot Jim Lindsey were at the controls when the
BA609 reached full airplane mode at 9:23 am CDT. Both are highly
experienced tiltrotor pilots with flight time logged in both the V-22 Osprey
as well as the XV-15. When making its first transition to airplane mode
this morning the BA609 today flew at 190 knots (219 mph).
"Jim and I thought the aircraft flew as expected and the vibration
level was very low. This was the culmination of months of dedicated effort
from engineering and manufacturing personnel and everyone should certainly
be proud!" Mr. Hopkins stated.
With its nacelles in the vertical position, the tiltrotor takes-off,
lands and hovers like a traditional helicopter. When the nacelles are
tilted forward to the horizontal position, the aircraft flies with the high
speed and range of a turboprop fixed-wing airplane.
The aircraft returned to flight status June 3, 2005, at Bell's XworX
research and development facility here following an 18-month programmed
pause in flight-testing for developmental engineering configuration.
"This is truly a momentous point in aviation history because we have finally
achieved the full range of flight on the BA609, the world's first civil
tiltrotor," declared Bell/Agusta Programs Executive Director Jack Gallagher,
adding, "this changes everything in vertical lift and general aviation."
BA609 Aircraft #02 is at Agusta's assembly and flight-testing facility in
Italy, where tests are progressing in support of Aircraft #01. Aircraft #02
is scheduled to make its first flight during the 4th Quarter of this year.
The BA609, a six to nine passenger aircraft, has market applications for
corporate business, offshore operators and government customers for a
variety of roles including search and rescue, and internal security team
Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company is a joint venture corporation between
Agusta/Westland and Bell Helicopter.
AgustaWestland , a Finmeccanica company, with
primary operations in Italy, United Kingdom and USA, is a commercial
enterprise offering an unrivaled range of products designed to satisfy the
most diverse requirements of civil and military customers. With turnover
exceeding $2.5 billion, AgustaWestland is
committed to delivering outstanding products and services in globally
Bell Helicopter , a Textron Company, is a
$1.6 billion, leading producer of commercial and military helicopters, and
the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for
customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce
of over 8,500 employees serves customers flying Bell aircraft in over 120
news: Civil Tiltrotor Enters Next Phase of Flight Test Program (Jul 19, 2004)
news: BA609 Tests Set Stage For First Hover Flight (Dec 23, 2002)
news: Wing mated to Bell/Agusta Tiltrotor BA609 (Dec 1, 2000)
news: Bell / Agusta 609 presentation (Oct 8, 1999)