Second BA609 Tiltrotor Prototype Now Flying
The second prototype of the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor (S/N 60002) logged its first flight on November 9 at AgustaWestland’s facility in Cameri, Italy. During the flight, which lasted 52 minutes, the nacelle/rotors were tilted 15 degrees forward of vertical thrust. BA609 S/N 60003 is already at Cameri and S/N 60004 is on the assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas. BA609 A/C 60001 is continuing flight-testing at Bell’s Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas. To date it has logged more than 100 hours of flight-test time and has operated at 25,000 feet and speeds up to 304 knots. Bell/Agusta will produce a total of four prototype tiltrotors for flight-testing in the U.S. and Italy. European and FAA certification is planned in 2010. Bell/Agusta said that it has received orders for 60 civil versions and for an undisclosed number of government customers–more than the first two years of production.