AW609 Tilt Rotor

Yeah yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Didn’t they already make an aircraft (the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey) that had both the speed/range/altitude capabilities of a fixed wing and the vertical take-off/landing advantages of a helicopter? Yes, but you see, that was gray.

This is gray AND red-orange. A subtle but crucial difference.  Augusta Westland is heading the development of the AW609 Tilt Rotor, hoping to acquire that coveted FAA certification by the first half of 2016. The program has its own dedicated plants to help speed up the certification and testing process, with features like  a development simulator and vehicle management system integration laboratory to test the flight control system software and hardware. Early prototypes have already racked up over 650 flight hours, proven its ability to fly at altitudes of up to 25,000 feet and cruise at speeds of  275 knots…and that’s just at its maximum weight. Imagine what it can do when it sheds a few pounds. While the V-22 was made for military use, the AW609 is being developed for private, commercial, and government markets, accommodating crews of one or two and six to nine passengers. I’m glad there’s such a big push for vertical take-off and landing all of a sudden, my runway was getting a bit worn out.