Commercial

AW609 Ready for Icing Trials, STOL Tests

By S.L. Fuller | February 14, 2017
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Photo courtesy of Leonardo

Photo courtesy of Leonardo

Leonardo’s AW609 has recently performed flight tests, allowing for the full testing of avionics and other systems, Leonardo said. This follows several weeks of unrestrained ground testing. Still on track for FAA certification in 2018, icing trials and short takeoff and landing tests (STOL) are the next steps.

The aircraft’s third prototype, based at Leonardo’s facility in Philadelphia, performed basic hovering, maneuvering, patterns and hover landing. Leonardo has planned additional flight tests up to altitudes of 4,000 feet with STOL in the near future. Icing trials are to take place throughout the winter in Marquette, Michigan. The fourth Leonardo AW609 prototype has made its way to the Philadelphia assembly line, paving the way to a production build aircraft planned for next year.

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Leonardo’s tiltrotor has had a rocky road to the fourth prototype, with flight testing suspended after an Oct. 30, 2015, crash. Flight testing resumed in the latter half of 2016.

Agreements for nearly 60 Leonardo AW609s have been signed by customers worldwide. The aircraft can perform roles including patrol, search and rescue, offshore transport, security, and VIP transport. Leonardo has development agreements in place with Bristow Group and Era Group for offshore and emergency medical service variants, respectively.

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