6/18/2007 - Paris Air Show, Paris, France -- Bell
Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, and the majority
stakeholder of BAAC, and its joint venture partner
AgustaWestland recently confirmed the 609 civilian
tiltrotor has reached the 200 hour mark in the flight
Michael Cuppernull, BAAC managing director said that
the program currently has two aircraft in flight test,
with two more in the plans. "The third prototype is
tentatively scheduled to fly next year and the fourth
sometime later in 2008," Cuppernull stated.
To date the first 609, based at Bell's XworX facility
in Texas, has flown to all corners of the flight
envelope, including speeds up to 304 KTAS in full
airplane mode, as well as rearward and sideward flight
in 35 kt. in helicopter mode. Pilots are also probing
handling qualities at altitudes up to 25,000 ft. Also
recently a third generation software package has been
installed which will help further refine operations of
the flight control system.
The 609 is on track to achieve both FAA and European
certification in 2010, with initial customer
deliveries in 2011.
Source: Bell Helicopter Press Release