BA609 Reaches Nearly 220 MPH With First Full Conversion To
The Bell/Agusta 609 tiltrotor
streaked over the skies of Central Texas, Friday, with its outboard
nacelles rotating forward to full airplane mode for the first
Roy Hopkins, 609 project pilot and Bell pilot Jim Lindsey were
at the controls when the BA609 reached full airplane mode at 9:23
am CDT. Both are highly experienced tiltrotor pilots with
flight time logged in both the V-22 Osprey as well as the
XV-15. When making its first transition to airplane mode this
morning the BA609 today flew at 190 knots (219 mph).
"Jim and I thought the aircraft flew as expected and the
vibration level was very low. This was the culmination of months of
dedicated effort from engineering and manufacturing personnel and
everyone should certainly be proud!" Mr. Hopkins stated.
With its nacelles in the vertical position, the tiltrotor
takes-off, lands and hovers like a traditional helicopter.
When the nacelles are tilted forward to the horizontal position,
the aircraft flies with the high speed and range of a turboprop
The aircraft returned to flight status June 3, 2005, at Bell's
XworX research and development facility here following an 18-month
programmed pause in flight-testing for developmental engineering
"This is truly a momentous point in aviation history because we
have finally achieved the full range of flight on the BA609, the
world's first civil tiltrotor," declared Bell/Agusta Programs
Executive Director Jack Gallagher, adding, "this changes everything
in vertical lift and general aviation."
BA609 Aircraft #02 is at Agusta's assembly and
flight-testing facility in Italy, where tests are progressing in
support of Aircraft #01. Aircraft #02 is scheduled to make its
first flight during the 4th Quarter of this year.
The BA609, a six to nine passenger aircraft, has market
applications for corporate business, offshore operators and
government customers for a variety of roles including search and
rescue, and internal security team insertion.