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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bell Sells Share in BA609 to AgustaWestland

By Thierry Dubois

AgustaWestland has bought out Bell’s share in the BA609 tiltrotor program and is now expecting certification in 2015—12 years after the first flight—with deliveries beginning “immediately afterwards.” After years of discussions, the two helicopter manufacturers have found an agreement that was signed in June, just before the Paris Air Show. The European company is saying it is now “fully committed to proceed rapidly.” Bell Agusta Aerospace Co. (BAAC) will be renamed but will remain a U.S. company, being the type certificate applicant to the FAA. AgustaWestland will take full ownership of BAAC under the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals from European and U.S. authorities. The civil tiltrotor program, the first of its kind, will be renamed AW609.
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