Tuesday, March 3, 2015
AgustaWestland Begins Production Phase of AW609 Tiltrotor
AgustaWestland's AW609 TiltRotor program has achieved key milestones, the company announced on March 2 at HAI Heli-Expo, and is initiating the production phase in anticipation of the first customer deliveries.
The company has expanded the AW609 TiltRotor program to include the AgustaWestland Philadelphia, Pa. facility through its designation as the first final assembly line for the only civil tiltrotor in development to date. A second final assembly line is expected to be established at AgustaWestland’s Vergiate facility in Italy at a later date.
Photo courtesy of AgustaWestland
The involvement of AgustaWestland Philadelphia in the AW609 program represents the anticipated progression towards assembly and certification with the FAA as the main certification authority. The move signifies an expansion of the capabilities present at AgustaWestland Philadelphia, particularly in the engineering and supply chain functions.
AgustaWestland currently has two prototypes undergoing flight testing with a third in final assembly. The first prototype aircraft will continue flying at the AgustaWestland facility in Arlington, Texas in parallel with FAA Certification support work at AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia facility. The fourth prototype will be assembled in Philadelphia in 2016.
Full integration of the AW609 program into AgustaWestland Philadelphia’s operations is expected by third quarter 2015, and will include facility expansions as required to accommodate the AW609 TiltRotor engineering, certification, and aircraft assembly activities.
The AW609 aircraft have so far logged nearly 1,200 hours, with achievements over the past year that include successful completion of envelope expansion, autorotation trials, and improvements in aerodynamics and aircraft systems. Nearly 60 aircraft have been ordered to date for a variety of roles and missions, including offshore transportation, EMS and patient transfer, search and rescue, VIP, and parapublic operations.