The AW609 completed a flight of 1,161 kilometers in 2 hours and 18 minutes between Yeovil (Somerset, UK) and Cascina Costa di Samarate (Milan). This is the absolute record of speed on a linear route of “a thousand kilometers.”
The Finmeccanica tilt-rotor has technological features which foreshadow a real breakthrough for commercial transport: the record obtained on the route between the south of the UK and the north of Italy is a clear demonstration of the extraordinary benefits of this innovative type of craft .
The AW609 can link two major cities – for example Milan and London – in about two hours, taking off and landing vertically like a helicopter, from and in any urban area, with a cruising speed of a typical turboprop aircraft and in any condition weather.
Combining the capacity of a fixed-wing aircraft with those of a rotorcraft, the tilt-rotor AW609 assures, ultimately, a reduction of between 30% and 50% in the travel times to the combined use of the car, helicopter and business jet, especially for distances greater than 1100 km.
Taking off from Yeovil, the aircraft reached its normal cruising altitude of 25,000 feet (8,000 meters), passing north of Southampton and then continuing to the south of Paris, on over the Alps and Piedmont, before landing in Cascina Costa, in Milan after only two hours and 18 minutes.
The tilt-rotor AW609, thanks to the outstanding performance and a pressurized cabin that can accommodate up to nine passengers, opens up opportunities for a wide range of uses which include, among other things, corporate transport, offshore transport in support of oil and gas industry, search and rescue, emergency services and health missions to national security. The certification of the AW609 tilt-rotor by the FAA is expected in 2017. Immediately after, AgustaWestland will begin deliveries of the aircraft.
by Fabio Gigante