BAAC 609 Flight Test Continues Development Pace

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 test program.

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

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