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Monday June 18, 2007

BAAC 609 Flight Test Continues Development Pace

Paris Air Show, Paris, France ( Bell Helicopter Press Release ) - Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, and the majority stakeholder of BAAC, and its joint venture partner AgustaWestland recently confirmed the 609 civilian tiltrotor has reached the 200 hour mark in the flight test program.

Michael Cuppernull, BAAC managing director said that the program currently has two aircraft in flight test, with two more in the plans. "The third prototype is tentatively scheduled to fly next year and the fourth sometime later in 2008," Cuppernull stated.

To date the first 609, based at Bell's XworX facility in Texas, has flown to all corners of the flight envelope, including speeds up to 304 KTAS in full airplane mode, as well as rearward and sideward flight in 35 kt. in helicopter mode. Pilots are also probing handling qualities at altitudes up to 25,000 ft. Also recently a third generation software package has been installed which will help further refine operations of the flight control system.

The 609 is on track to achieve both FAA and European certification in 2010, with initial customer deliveries in 2011.

Bell Helicopter is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.

Textron Inc. is an $11 billion multi-industry company operating in 32 countries with approximately 40,000 employees. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company , Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Fluid & Power, Textron Systems and Textron Financial Corporation.

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