AW609 tiltrotor resumes flight testing, while the AW139 gets ‘hot-and-high’
The first flying AW609 tiltrotor prototype, AC1, was ferried from Arlington, Texas to manufacturer Leonardo-finmeccanica’s Philadelphia facility in early August.
The move followed recent resumption of flight-testing after the November 2015 fatal crash of the second aircraft in Italy. AC1 will later be shipped to Italy for updates and modifications, while AC3 — which recently returned to flight testing in Italy — will cross the Atlantic in the opposite direction to join the flight-test programme in Philadelphia, where AC4 is currently being assembled and is scheduled to fly next year.
Despite the ten month delay in the flight-test programme following the accident, and calls from Italian accident investigators for wind tunnel retesting and redesign of the AW609’S fly-by-wire flight control system, Leonardo-finmeccanica says the AW609 remains on track for certification and first customer deliveries in 2018.