Monday, July 7, 2008
Where is the BA609 Headed?
Four months ago, Rotor & Wing told you that Bell Helicopter executives were doubting the size of the market for the BA609. It is developing that civil tilt-rotor with AgustaWestland. Bell senior vice president for marketing and sales, Bob Fitzpatrick, shared with us in the run-up to Heli-Expo that the success of Sikorsky Aircraft's S-92 in offshore-support markets and the advent of very light jets was eating into potential BA609 sales. Now comes word via The Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Bell is shifting more development work to AW. The newspaper reports officials of the two companies met recently and agreed on the latest revision to the development plan and timetable. It quoted Bell executive vice president of programs, Mike Blake, as saying, "I think Bell will always be involved in the 609 program in some way. How is to be determined." For related news