Early in the second quarter, Bell/Agusta Aerospace reported that the BA609 civil tiltrotor program had logged 137 flights and 159 flight hours on ship 001, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and 14 flights and 14 flight hours on ship 002 in Cameri, Italy. The flight envelope reached 310 ktas, 25,000 feet and 35 knots in rearward and sideward flight. The longest single flight was 1.7 hours. In vertical takeoff mode, the BA609 demonstrated climb rates of 2,650 fpm and in airplane mode, 2,900 fpm. The company has made takeoffs at greater than the 16,800-pound mtow and conducted extreme center-of-gravity tests.
According to Bell/Agusta, ships 003 and 004 will join the test program in 2008/2009. The goal for achieving concurrent FAA and EASA certification is the fourth quarter of 2010, followed by customer deliveries one or two months later. The backlog is now more than 70 BA609s.