Bell Helicopter, November 01, 2000 - Fort Worth, TX - Bell Helicopter Textron Chairman & CEO Terry D. Stinson announced today the construction of the world's first commercial tiltrotor training center.
The 82,000 square foot, three story building will be located at Alliance Airport adjacent to the headquarters of the Bel l /Agusta Aerospace Company (BAAC), a joint venture between Bell and Agusta SpA, a Finmecannica Company to develop and manufacture the BA609 commercial tiltrotor.
Mr. Stinson, who is also Chairman & CEO of the Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company, said the new building will be dedicated to training future tiltrotor pilots from around the world. The training center will have two full-motion flight simulators, a sophisticated cockpit procedures trainer and abundant space for classroom and individual training. Initially the BAAC Training Facility will employee 60 people. The new facility will be complete by next year with some 300 student pilots expected beginning in 2001.
"This opens up a brand new era in aviation. It is an exciting day for Bell Helicopter, for our partners at Agusta, and for the City of Fort Worth. Indeed this is an exciting day for all of aviation," Mr. Stinson stated
The design and construction of the new facility will be by several Fort Worth companies. The building design for the new flight center will be by Don W. Kirk. The architect is Gideon & Toal, of Fort Worth. The firm of Carter & Burgess will be responsible for civil engineering and Summit Engineering will handle electrical and mechanical engineering.
The BA 609 is a six to nine passenger tiltrotor, which will be certificated for civil use. The BA 609 is a versatile aircraft with twice the speed and range of conventional helicopters. With its outboard nacelles in the vertical position, the tiltrotor is able to take-off land and hover like a traditional helicopter. With the nacelles in the horizontal position, the tiltrotor is able to fly with the high speed and range of a turboprop fixed wing airplane.
BAAC reports 80 advance orders for the BA609. The four prototype aircraft are being built now at Bell's manufacturing facilities in Fort Worth, and Arlington, Texas. First flight of the BA609 is expected in August 2001, with certification projected for 2003. Production aircraft will be manufactured at Bell's Tiltrotor Assembly Center in Amarillo, Texas, and at Agusta's facilities in Cascina Costa, Italy.
The BA609 is being designed and built by Bell/Agusta to be the world's first commercially available tiltrotor aircraft. The BA 609 will cruise at 275 knots (510Km/h) with a maximum unrefueled range of 750 nautical miles (1,400Km), 1,000 nautical miles (1,850Km) with auxiliary fuel tanks.
Mr. Stinson explained, "There is enormous worldwide interest in this unique aircraft which can take-off, hover and land like a helicopter and yet fly with the high speed and range of a fixed wing turboprop airplane. The possibilities are endless. The BA 609 is the perfect aircraft for city center to city center transportation, offshore oil exploration and search-and-rescue to mention just a few."
About Bell Helicopter: Bell Helicopter Textron is a $1.4 billion, leading producer of powered lift aircraft for commercial and military customers. Bell's global workforce of 8,000 employees serves customers in 130 countries.
Textron Inc. is an $11.6 billion, global, multi-industry company with market-leading businesses in Aircraft, Automotive, Industrial and Finance. Textron has a workforce of over 68,000 employees and major manufacturing facilities in 30 countries. Textron is among Fortune magazine's "Global Most Admired Companies."