Leonardo and Falcon Aviation Services have started building a new rotorcraft terminal that will facilitate mobility to and from the Expo 2020 site in Dubai. The expo will run from October 2021 to March 2022.
The terminal will combine helipad, exhibition, and lounge areas in a single city-based heliport and feature a modular, environmentally friendly design using recyclable materials. Falcon will provide transport with Leonardo AW139, AW189, and AW169 helicopters and the site will also be used to promote the OEM’s AW609 civil tiltrotor.
In 2015, the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding to take three AW609s for use in search-and-rescue operations. Flight testing on the AW609 currently continues from Leonardo’s Philadelphia facility. The manufacturer first flew the AW609 in 2003 and a fourth test aircraft joined the program in late 2019. Assembly of production aircraft is also underway in Philadelphia.
The AW609 is being marketed across a mission spectrum that includes EMS, SAR, VIP/corporate transport, offshore resource development, and government/public service duties. Designed to carry nine passengers, the 1,000-nm-range tiltrotor will be able to cruise at 275 knots at altitudes up to 25,000 feet.