AgustaWestland has confirmed reports that certification of the AW609 civil tiltrotor has been pushed out to 2017, a one-year delay. A company spokesman told AIN that the schedule change is the result of numerous upgrades being made to the design in terms of aerodynamics and systems, including new engines, avionics and fly-by-wire flight controls.
The Italian airframer acquired sole interest in the program from Bell Helicopter in 2011 and announced major program suppliers last year, including Pratt & Whitney Canada for engines, Rockwell Collins for the integrated cockpit featuring Pro Line Fusion avionics, and BAE for the flight control computer.
The AgustaWestland Tiltrotor Company, based in Arlington, Texas, is pursuing FAA certification. Two prototypes are currently flying and two more are under construction at AW facilities in Italy.
The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) revealed the delay when it briefed the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the AW609 June 3 in Montreal. The introduction of civil tiltrotors is expected to generate various changes to the ICAO Annex to accommodate the unique capabilities of such aircraft.