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What's New With The Civil Tiltrotor?

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What's New With The Civil Tiltrotor?

Old 6th Jul 2011, 19:09
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What's New With The Civil Tiltrotor?

The powers that be at PPRuNe have agreed that now that the civil tiltrotor has turned the corner and will be moving forward to production, it is time for a new thread to track developments...

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011
BA609 Tiltrotor Now Under Full AgustaWestland Control</SPAN>

European manufacturer purchases Bell's share in program, plans to rename as AW609.

By Thierry Dubois

AgustaWestland has bought out Bell’s share in the BA609 tiltrotor program and is now expecting certification in 2015—12 years after the first flight—with deliveries beginning “immediately afterwards.” After years of discussions, the two helicopter manufacturers have found an agreement that was signed in June, just before the Paris Air Show. The European company is saying it is now “fully committed to proceed rapidly.”

Bell Agusta Aerospace Co. (BAAC) will be renamed but will remain a U.S. company, being the type certificate applicant to the FAA. AgustaWestland will take full ownership of BAAC under the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals from European and U.S. authorities. The civil tiltrotor program, the first of its kind, will be renamed AW609.

Bell will “remain involved in the design and certification of AW609 components,” according to Larry Roberts, senior vice president of the manufacturer’s Commercial business unit. When the aircraft reaches the production phase, the U.S. firm will be a supplier. Roberts told Rotor & Wing that, according to the agreement, his company will provide “engineering support” to AgustaWestland. He made it clear that no “V-22 technology will be transferred to the BA609.”

As soon as this autumn, a single “integrated development team” will manage the program in Cascina Costa, near Milan, Italy, where one of the two prototypes is based. In Arlington, Texas, where the other prototype is located, AgustaWestland will open “a new operational base.” Two more aircraft will be assembled at Cascina Costa. Prototype #3 will be used for icing certification testing, for both EASA and FAA approvals. AgustaWestland says it is targeting commercial and government markets.

The BA609 made its first flight in 2003 in Arlington. Since then, the program’s schedule has repeatedly moved to the right. Bell’s and AgustaWestland’s respective shares in the program were believed to be 60/40. The BA609 is a nine-passenger aircraft, flown by two pilots. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A turboshafts, it is designed to cruise at a maximum 275 kts. Its maximum range is around 700 nm.
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 22:35
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A few thoughts:

Speed limit outside of CAS in UK is 250 kts.

Where is it actually targeted to fly to / from in UK?

Will it fit on the FATO at the (only) London Heliport?

If not, will it be allowed to land at City Airport instead?

If so, isn't there a cheaper way of doing the same job?
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Old 7th Jul 2011, 06:26
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General characteristics
  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Capacity: 6 to 9 passengers/5,500 pounds (2,500 kg) payload
  • Length: 44 ft (13.3 m)
  • Rotor diameter: ()
  • Height: 16 ft 3 in (5.1 m) nacelles vertical; (21 ft 10 in (6.6 m) nacelles horizontal
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 5 in (11.7 m)
  • Width with rotors: 60 ft 5 in (14.1 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 25 ft 10 in (7.92 m))
  • Disc area: 981.75 ft² (98.53 m²)
  • Empty weight: 10,483 lb (4,765 kg)
  • Useful load: 5,500 lb (2,500 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 16,800 lb (7,600 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A turboshaft, 1,940 hp (1,447 kW) each
to fit on FATO is my last concern....
Others are:
price per seat,
price per mile/km
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Old 7th Jul 2011, 07:29
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Will it fit on the FATO...
The 'D' value is 60 feet proprotor tip to proprotor tip (comparable to our Bell 212 'D' value of 57 feet). Pilots can see the outer most rotating parts of the a/c unlike conventional tailrotor, and with the rigid proprotor blades 15 feet above the pavement, no danger of pax walking into them.
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Old 8th Jul 2011, 03:44
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About time the development of the Acft progresses.
But....... never fly the 'A' model of anything!
I hope it has a better start time limit than the AW139, oh, and its tail stays on.
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Old 8th Jul 2011, 16:05
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What is it with the Italians and finishing other peoples work?

The AB139, bought out Bell....I'm sure Bell provided some technology they needed then was bought out.

The BA609, same. When Bell isn't needed anymore for their expertise...bought out...

The new jet trainer....went into a partnership with the russians...got the already finished plane...got out of the partnership and now sells it as their own!!

I have heard more examples but can't remember them right now....anyone?
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Old 8th Jul 2011, 17:04
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Concerning AS139 even Swidnik design was involved....for airframe design
and production, and that was before purchase/privatisation.
Concerning BA609 already 2 years, Bell/Textron reduced support to that program,
buy out, is sort of damage management. Heart of design MGB and distribution
shaft system was designed and made in Cascina Costa any way...

Concerning YAK130/M346 Russians was paid from Italian Finmechanicca / Alenia side, to make that project...airframe only
- Italian is transonic, Russian so far not.
Next similar cooperation project is SSJ regional jet built in KnAAPO
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Old 8th Jul 2011, 20:13
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Might there be good reason to pursue this, in commercial flights, as a single pilot aircraft? (Thinking economics, not trying to rain on pilot jobs here, please be gentle).

By looking at the aircraft, it seems that the answer is no (need two sets of eyes to keep clearance on two proprotors) and so cost per seat and KM get to be very interesting variables.

(Anyone have any ideas on how the Japanese market for these is shaping up?
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Old 8th Jul 2011, 21:19
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Heart of design MGB and distribution
shaft system was designed and made in Cascina Costa any way...
Ha, that's a laugh. Why do you suppose that AW is retaining Bell as a supplier of engineering and rotor components on the 609?
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Old 8th Jul 2011, 21:52
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I know what I saw, and you may know better.... but FYI
same laugh was here on buy out subject, approx. 1,5 y ago,
amazing grace, now BA is AW

Blades and rotor heads are Bell know-how..... that is fact

Last edited by 9Aplus; 8th Jul 2011 at 22:04.
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Old 8th Jul 2011, 22:52
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Agusta's involvement extended to drivetrain components from its original entry into the program (along with responsibility for the empennage, flaperons, overwing fairing, wing leading edge, wingtip/nacelle junction and engine inlets). It'll be interesting to see whether fuselage production remains at Amarillo (TAC) or transfers to Cascina Costa. Otherwise I'm sure Fuji still has a set of plans somewhere.

Don't think Bell's departure wasn't the result of an extensive AoA of their options. The bottom line was that AW's prospective customers were considered more likely to be able to afford the aircraft than Bell's prospects.

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Old 9th Jul 2011, 04:41
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Bell will make profit as a supplier to Agusta on the 609, without incurring much more risk. I'm sure that if there was a large potential market for the 609, Bell would have pushed ahead. But I believe Bell's profits now mostly come from military sales, so that's apparently where they have chosen to focus their development budgets.
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Old 9th Jul 2011, 07:05
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Not to worry, Bell shall soon unveil a secret version of the 412, and by means of an innovative advertisement campaign shall pitch it to the gullible of the world as a new class of fast and economical rotorcraft.
"Just needs a new coat of paint".
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Old 29th Nov 2011, 15:16
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AgustaWestland Completes 609 Tiltrotor Programme Acquisition

Tuesday November 29th 2011 - AgustaWestland

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that it has finalised the transaction with Bell Helicopter Textron for the acquisition of the 609 tiltrotor programme. All legal and regulatory approvals have now been successfully completed.

The development of the AW609 tiltrotor programme is now moving forward under full AgustaWestland control with civil certification expected in late 2015, early 2016 and deliveries following immediately afterwards. Additionally AgustaWestland has plans to introduce a new generation satellite based navigation system and mission avionics to enable all weather operations and increase the aircraft’s operational capabilities. A new state-of-the-art avionics architecture will provide the pilot with increased situational awareness and a reduced workload.

The first two prototypes have achieved more than 600 flight hours so far and have validated the AW609’s unique flight envelope including the ability to fly at altitudes of up to 25,000 feet and cruise at speeds up to 275 knots, all at the aircraft’s maximum weight. The test programme continues to check all the points of the flight envelope, 85% of which has been completed, as required by both the FAA and EASA. Two further aircraft will join the test programme to complete the certification programme.

The third prototype, now being manufactured in Italy, will be devoted to icing certification testing while the fourth prototype will be used for the development and integration of new avionics and mission avionics. Additionally, STOL (short takeoff and landing) procedures will be investigated in order to permit operations at increased maximum gross weights to further enhance the AW609’s operational capability for specific applications.

AgustaWestland announced the acquisition of ownership of the programme in June. Bell Agusta Aerospace Company (BAAC) will be renamed and will remain a US company being the new type certificate applicant to the FAA. The new company will be totally owned by AgustaWestland. The AW609 programme is to be managed by a single Integrated Development Team, based in Cascina Costa, Italy. AgustaWestland will also open a new operational base in Arlington, Texas, to manage US based tiltrotor operations.

The tiltrotor concept is the answer to the growing need for an aircraft matching the vertical capabilities of the helicopter with the speed, range and altitude capabilities of fixed wing aircraft. AgustaWestland is investing in the next generation of rotorcraft technologies and the AW609 and future tiltrotor concepts are part of the company’s innovation commitment.

Preliminary orders for approximately 70 AW609s have been placed by around 40 customers in over 20 countries to perform a range of commercial and government roles. The AW609 provides customers with a new way to fly and AgustaWestland expects significant worldwide market opportunities for the aircraft with no aircraft in the market place that can come close to offering a similar capability.

AgustaWestland Completes 609 Tiltrotor Programme Acquisition | Vertical - Helicopter News
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Old 30th Nov 2011, 17:46
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Bell must be kicking themselves they walked away from the AB139.
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Old 30th Nov 2011, 21:17
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What kind of certification would you need to fly one of those? CPL-A and CPL-H?
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Old 30th Nov 2011, 21:19
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Usually one CPL and one PPL with preference on a CPL(H). There will be a rating called "powered lift".
I heard...
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Old 30th Nov 2011, 22:02
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There is a category called powered lift already (at least under FAA), but that refers to the category only, but I don´t think a powered lift flight school exist outside of the USAF.
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 11:35
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AW609 Finally Ready for its Close-up

HAI Convention News » February 11, 2012
by James Wynbrandt

AgustaWestland is demonstrating the AW609 civil tiltrotor at Heli-Expo 2012.

February 11, 2012, 9:25 PM

Agusta Westland Tilt Rotor Co. (AWTR) flew an AW609 (née BA609) tiltrotor at Arlington Municipal Airport yesterday. The company also provided an update on the program, which comes in the aftermath of AgustaWestland’s taking over full ownership of the 609 project when former partner Bell Helicopter relinquished its half last November.
AgustaWestland established AWTR to complete certification and bring the AW609 to market, with its U.S. headquarters based at AWTR’s new office-hangar complex at the airport.

Though development of the civil tiltrotor has lagged in recent years, the allure of tiltrotor technology remains strong, as it combines the vertical-lift capability of helicopters with the higher speed and longer range of fixed wing aircraft.
Resembling a half-scale V22 Osprey, the AW609 is expected to have a maximum takeoff weight (mtow) of 16,800 pounds, a maximum cruise speed of 275 knots, a range of 700 nm (with no reserves), a 25,000-foot service ceiling and a climb rate of 2,500 to 3,000 fpm. AWTR plans no change in the performance envelope, but may seek an increase in takeoff weight for short-takeoff performance, versus the current mtow, which is based on vertical takeoff operations.
According to the company, yesterday’s approximately nine-minute flight marked the first public flight demonstration of the AW609 since the Farnborough Air Show in 2008. Experimental test pilot Pietro Venanzi, who commanded the demo flight, showcased N609TR’s maneuverability in both vertical, horizontal and transitional nacelle configurations in the traffic pattern and in maneuvers over the apron in front of onlookers. Transition of the nacelles from full vertical to horizontal appeared seamless with no visible change to the aircraft pitch or flight path. The aircraft was surprisingly quiet in its fixed-wing configuration, with the growl of the two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A turboshaft engines increasing as the nacelles tilted toward vertical.
The company said it has orders for close to 70 aircraft from 40 customers in 15 countries, though it declined to identify any of the buyers or whether they had paid deposits for their positions. Some of those orders will likely be contingent on the final price, which AWTR has yet to announce.
According to Bell, early in the last decade the 609 was priced at $8-10 million adjusted to the year of delivery. Subsequently, outside estimates on the price have been as high as $30 million. AWTR said it will announce the price 25 months before first delivery.
Clive Scott, program manager, said the company is in contact with position holders but has given them little guidance on final cost. Nonetheless, officials are bullish on prospects, estimating that 450 to 500 AW609s will be built over a 20-year period.
In the executive/transport configuration, the aircraft will carry eight to nine passengers, but AWTR sees many other applications, including oil-and-gas operations, search and rescue and border and maritime patrol. “I’m sure there are many applications out there we haven’t conceived of yet, in interesting ways that are yet to be invented” said Robert LaBelle, AWTR Managing Director. The aircraft will have a digital glass cockpit and avionics suite, though AWTR declined to disclose potential suppliers.
Venanzi said the company is designing a flight-training curriculum for prospective pilots, whose recommended qualifications would include extensive rotor-wing experience and some fixed-wing experience, preferably with IFR capability. The company is also working with both the FAA and EASA to establish requirements for Tilt Rotor license requirements.
But Venanzi, a former F-104 fighter pilot in the Italian air force, noted that he only had about 100 hours of rotor time when he entered test pilot school, and that ease of flying was an aircraft design criteria for the 609. As an example, he noted that the controls that manage the tilt of the nacelles have detent stops, making it easy to make changes to nacelle configuration, unlike in the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor. (In related news, newly released Pentagon budget figures for fiscal 2012 indicate funding for the Boeing/Bell V-22 program will be cut from $2.6 billion for 35 V-22s to $1.91 billion for 21 aircraft.)
Venanzi said autorotation tests have been conducted at altitude, and that “it doesn’t take much altitude” to achieve a power-off full flair to a sink rate of zero fpm.
Two prototypes are flying. Prototype #3 is under assembly at the AW facility in Cascina Costa, Italy, with a fourth prototype to follow. The third prototype will be used for icing and high-and-hot trials, and will be outfitted with both anti-icing and deicing systems (for different parts of the aircraft).
The two aircraft flying have accumulated about 650 flight hours, and 85 percent of the 609’s flight envelope has been explored. LaBelle said the company has been developing its certification program with the FAA for several years, and FAA certification flight tests are scheduled to begin in 2013. FAA certification (with simultaneous EASA validation) is anticipated in the first half of 2016, with deliveries commencing that same year.
Though their partnership has been dissolved, Bell is continuing to assist in both design and flight testing. AWTR said it has 250 engineers dedicated to the program in Cascina Costa, and will soon have about 150 engineers at the Arlington facility. According to chief project engineer Silvano Scorbati, the two workforces are fully integrated and collaborate in real time. “We are able to work, instead of eight hours, 16 hours a day with four to five hours of overlap,” Scorbati said.
While declining to disclose development costs or the costs of ramping up for production, LaBelle said, “We’re not going to tell you specific numbers, but our message is [that] the company is committed to this project. We know what it’s going to take, and we’re going to execute and get it certified in the timeline we’ve laid out.”
AW609 Finally Ready for its Close-up | Aviation International News
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Old 12th Feb 2012, 13:00
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Going to be a nightmare...
For your logbook
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