Leonardo Flies First Production AW609 TiltRotor

Leonardo’s first production AW609 civil tiltrotor made its inaugural flight on October 13 at the company’s Philadelphia facility, it said today. Designated AC5, the aircraft was one of three customer aircraft on the production line and will join the other three prototype AW609s currently in flight test. To date, the AW609 program has logged nearly 1,900 flight hours in the U.S. and Italy. AC5 eventually will be delivered to the Bristow Group.

AC5’s first flight test card covered an initial in-flight evaluation of systems and general handling. Leonardo said the aircraft performed “as expected.”

“This amazing achievement adds to several milestones for the AW609 program over the last year through its technical progress and during its public appearances,” said Gian Piero Cutillo, managing director of Leonardo’s helicopter division.

Leonardo Philadelphia has been gearing up for the AW609’s entry into service, building a new training academy that includes an AW609 full-flight simulator and pilot and maintenance training coursework. The company said the aircraft is in the “last stages” of testing prior to FAA certification. Courtesy of AIN.

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