Bristow Flies Leonardo AW609 Tiltorotor

 - July 8, 2022, 8:15 AM
Bristow Group’, the launch customer for the Leonardo AW609, recently flew the civil tiltrotor in Philadelphia. (Photo: Leonardo)

Bryan Willows, Bristow Group’s program manager for advanced air mobility, recently flew the Leonardo AW609 civil tiltrotor in Philadelphia. Willows is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran with flight experience in the MV-22 Osprey military tiltrotor.

Bristow is the launch customer for the AW609 in the U.S. and is collaborating with Leonardo on modifications, operations, regulations, and maintenance related to the aircraft. The first Bristow AW609 is on the production line in Philadelphia. Willows added that “the AW609 is an important aircraft as Bristow helps advance vertical flight technology just like we have for the past 70 plus years.”

The helicopter operator has been flying Leonardo helicopters for 25 years and currently operates a fleet of 90 of the company’s aircraft, including AW139 and AW189 twins for missions such as offshore transport, search and rescue, and air ambulance in North and South America, Europe, and Africa. 

AW609 flight-test aircraft have currently logged more than 1,700 hours. Leonardo opened a flight-training facility in Philadelphia last year that includes the world’s first AW609 full-flight simulator. The company said it expects the AW609 to enter service next year.