AW609 Prototype Crashes in Italy, Killing Both Pilots

 - October 30, 2015, 10:39 AM

An AgustaWestland AW609 tiltrotor prototype crashed in Italy on Friday morning, October 30, while on a routine test flight, killing both crewmembers. The aircraft went down outside Santhia in Vercelli province.

Italy’s National Agency for Flight Safety (ANSV) is investigating. Unconfirmed Italian press reports indicate that one of the engines was on fire before the crash.

In a written statement from Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland, the manufacturer confirmed the loss of an AW609 prototype with the loss of both pilots. It expressed sympathy for the families and said that it is working with the investigating authorities.

The destroyed aircraft, Prototype 2, had been flying since 2006. Lately it had been used to test new installations, such as validation of a new pitot-static system, and making marketing flights for the company throughout Europe. AgustaWestland is not releasing the names of the pilots at this time.

AgustaWestland had hoped to gain FAA certification for the AW609 in 2017 and begin customer deliveries in 2018. Last month, Prototype 2 set a speed record on a trip of 627 nm from the UK to Italy, covering the distance in two hours 18 minutes. AgustaWestland is currently building test ships 3 and 4.