Civil Tiltrotor Preps for Engine Runups, First Flight
Bowing to some inevitable delays after September 11, Bell/Agusta Aerospace reports assembly of the first two BA609 tiltrotors is nearing completion, with engine runups slated to begin this month. First flight is still scheduled to take place at Bell’s Arlington, Texas flight research center before the end of the year, although industry observers have expressed skepticism that this deadline can be met. Bell/Agusta claims that orders for 80 BA609s remain firm in the face of an uncertain financial future. The first two BA609 prototypes will be joined by another pair next year.