AgustaWestland is flight testing several aerodynamic improvements to its AW609 tiltrotor including a modified vertical fin, newly designed engine exhaust nozzles and improved prop-rotor spinner cones.
The second prototype AW609 is being used which is based at the firm’s Cascina Costa facility in northern Italy. The vertical tail fin was tested on July 25, 2013. According to AgustaWestland, the modifications will reduce the drag factor by around 10 percent.
AW609 program manager Clive Scott said these and other improvements would enhance the aircraft’s performance and mission capabilities. These include an upgraded Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine, Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion cockpit avionics, as well as an upgraded flight control computer from BAE Systems.
The first prototype is with subsidiary AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Company in Arlington, Texas, acting as the type certificate applicant. This is now expected to be achieved around 2017.
Related: Flight Test News