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Leonardo AW609 TiltRotor


Multirole Tiltrotor Transport


Aviation / Aerospace

AgustaWestland is working on a tiltrotor product for the civilian market through the AW609 TiltRotor initiative.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 2/29/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Tiltrotors seemingly combine the best of two worlds in the scope of aviation - the fast, straight-line speed of a fixed-wing aircraft with the Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter. The tilting action of the engines allows for such functionality and, therefore, provides a single platform encapsulating the qualities of two aircraft in one - namely versatility and performance. Italian helicopter-maker AgustaWestland (AW), having secured the remainder of the tiltrotor program from Bell Helicopters (a former partner) in November 2011, has taken on development of the AW609. The AW609 is a tiltrotor product intended for the civilian, commercial and special services market. The aircraft is largely based on the original Bell XV-15 of the 1970s which went on to heavily influenced the modern Bell Boeing V-22 "Osprey" currently in service with the U.S. military. As it stands, the AW609 is set to become the first civil-minded tiltrotor anywhere in the world.

The AW609 features a crew of two with internal passenger seating for six to nine people depending on configuration. The cabin is fully pressurized to provide high-altitude flying and can be modified for various roles including Search and Rescue (SAR) and surveillance. A retractable, wheeled undercarriage helps to retain aerodynamic efficiency during flight, conforming to the general shape of the fuselage. High-mounted wings help the engine nacelles in clearing the large diameter, three-bladed composite rotor blades. The engines are fitted at the extreme ends of a composite wing structure and tilt to drive air downwards or level to drive air rearwards, providing lift and/or forward flight as needed. The tail unit is of a "T-style" configuration. The cockpit features an all-glass digital approach with Fly-By-Wire (FBW) controlling, an onboard diagnostics computer, three color Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), GPS navigation and an integrated weather radar. The rotor blades are heated to prevent ice build-up.

The AW609 is cleared with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) nearing 18,000lbs and is driven by 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A turboshaft engines rated at 1,940 horsepower each. This will supply the airframe with a maximum speed of 315 miles per hour with a cruise speed around 300 miles per hour. Rate-of-climb is listed at 1,500 feet per minute with maximum range reported as 860 miles. It is noteworthy that the stated performance figures exceed those as found on traditional helicopter aircraft to which AgustaWestland will assuredly bank on in marketing. Dimensions include an overall length of 46 feet with a height of 16.7 feet and a width of 60 feet including the rotors.

While development for AgustaWestland has proven slow, the aircraft is due for certification sometime in 2017 (though this delayed from 2016). Delays have been blamed on the modernization required of the original Bell design and the attempt to reduce overall costs for when the AW609 inevitably goes into serial production for awaiting customers.

Despite the project headed by AgustaWestland of Europe, the AW609 is being developed stateside near Arlington, Texas in the United States. The uniqueness of the AW609 will force the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to generate an all-new set of standards for tiltrotor civil aircraft. Of course, acceptance into American airspace will go a long way in helping to market the AW609 in other countries and regions. There may also be a second production facility arranged in the United States to complement the existing AgustaWestland establishment in Italy.



On October 30th, 2015, the second prototype crashed killing both of its test pilots. The crashed occurred in Vergiate northeast of Turin. This has grounded the first prototype, currently residing in the United States, from further flight testing.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced its intention to invest in the AW609 Tiltrotor program with the commitment to become three aircraft

November 2015 - United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command has contracted for three AW609 tiltrotors in a Search-and-Rescue (SAR) configuration.

May 2016 - The AW609 program has encountered another setback as Italian prosecutors have confiscated the third AW609 prototype - delaying its delivery to the United States for flight testing.

January 2016 - Leonardo has resumed flight testing of its AW609 Tiltrotor aircraft. The product is set to be certified sometime in 2018.

March 2017 - Certification for the AW609 has been reaffirmed for 2018. A third flyable prototype has been added to the flight testing program with a fourth prototype currently under construction.

February 2018 - In another delay for the AW609 program, certification is now scheduled for the end of 2019.

February 2018 - The AW609 is on pace to enter service some time in 2020.

March 2018 - FAA certification of the AW609 has been delayed until late-2019. Service entry is still on pace for some time in 2020. Leonardo will add a production standard (forth prototype) to the AW609 stable before the end of 2018. The company claims to have some 50 units on order from various global customers to date.

March 2019 - The AW609 inches closer to commercial type certification, some sixteen years since the passing of its first-flight. A forth prototype is currently under construction while the fifth air vehicle will represent the finalized production form. A sixth aircraft will be readied for final assembly and customer delivery.

Specifications



Year:
2020
Status
In-Development
Crew
2
[ 3 Units ] :
Leonardo-Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland) - Italy
National flag of Italy National flag of United Arab Emirates National flag of United States Italy (possible); United Arab Emirates (ordered); United States (possible)
- Commercial Market
- VIP Transport
- Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- X-Plane / Developmental
Length:
43.96 ft (13.4 m)
Width:
38.39 ft (11.7 m)
Height:
21.98 ft (6.7 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Leonardo AW609 TiltRotor production model)
Empty Weight:
10,483 lb (4,755 kg)
MTOW:
16,755 lb (7,600 kg)
(Diff: +6,272lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Leonardo AW609 TiltRotor production model)
2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A turboshaft engines developing 1,940 shaft horsepower each.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Leonardo AW609 TiltRotor production model)
Max Speed:
317 mph (510 kph; 275 kts)
Service Ceiling:
24,934 feet (7,600 m; 4.72 miles)
Max Range:
870 miles (1,400 km; 756 nm)
Rate-of-Climb:
1,500 ft/min (457 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Leonardo AW609 TiltRotor production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Leonardo AW609 TiltRotor production model)
AW609 "TiltRotor" - Base Series Designaton
General Assessment
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of a possible 100.
52
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (317mph).

Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
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LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
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  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
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  NYC
Leonardo AW609 TiltRotor operational range when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (3)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
3
3

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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