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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Custom-Built VH-71 Test Bird Flies

A new test aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps VH-71 presidential helicopter program flew July 3 at AgustaWestland’s facility in Yeovil, England. Test Vehicle 2 (TV-2) is the first test aircraft built specifically for the program. Flight testing to date has been conducted with two AgustaWestland EH101s—Civil 01, owned by the manufacturer, and Test Vehicle 1, on loan from the Italian navy. On TV-2’s first flight, AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot Don Maclaine and Senior Test Pilot Dick Trueman performed general aircraft handling checks, tested flight characteristics at speeds up to 135 kt, and evaluated avionics. After flights for an initial shake-down and testing of the integrated avionics systems and aircraft systems, TV-2 is to be delivered to the Lockheed Martin test facility at NAS Patuxent River, Md. this year for structural testing. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, N.Y. is lead contractor on the VH-71, which is to go into service by October 2009. For related news

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