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BA609
BA609 in airplane mode at Paris Air Show 2007
Role VTOL corporate transport
Manufacturer Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company
First flight March 6, 2003

The Bell/Agusta BA609 is a civil twin-engined tiltrotor VTOL aircraft with a configuration similar to the Bell Helicopter Textron/Boeing V-22 Osprey. It is being developed by Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company (BAAC), a joint venture between Bell Helicopter Textron and AgustaWestland.[1]

Contents

Design and development

The first ground tests of the BA609 prototype began December 6, 2002 and the first flight took place on March 6, 2003 in Arlington, Texas, with Roy Hopkins and Dwayne Williams as test pilots. After 14 hours of helicopter-mode flight testing, the prototype was moved to a ground testing rig for ground-based testing of conversion modes.[2] On June 3, 2005, having completed the ground-based testing, the prototype resumed flight testing and expansion of its flight envelope.[3] This led to the first conversion to airplane mode while in flight on July 22, 2005.[4] As of October 2008, the two flying aircraft have logged 365 flight-hours.[5]

Certification of the aircraft is projected for 2011.[6 ] BAAC has received orders for nearly 80 aircraft.[7]

On 21 September 2009, AgustaWestland chief executive Giuseppe Orsi said that corporate parent Finmeccanica had authorised buying Bell Helicopter out of the program in order to speed it up.[8]

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Costs

BA609 flying in helicopter mode at the Paris Air Show 2007
BA609 at Paris Air Show 2007

The cost of the vehicle has not been announced. Deposits are taken to reserve the right to purchase an aircraft, and the final price is to be announced at least 25 months before first delivery. In 2001, Terry Stinson, then chairman and CEO of Bell Helicopters, declared that costs will amount to "at least US$10 million".[9]

In 2004, Don Barbour, then executive marketing director, declared:

Early orders were taken at a price of between $8 and $10 million dollars, adjusted to year of delivery. Those were all sold and, since 1999, orders have been at a price to be confirmed no later than 24 months before aircraft delivery.

—2004, Aviation International News[10]

Uses

The BA609 competes with corporate business jets and helicopters. It can fly where jets cannot, such as heliports or smaller airports, yet it has twice the range of a helicopter, and can fly almost twice as fast.[11] Specifically, the company has stated that the BA609 would be of interest to any operator that has a mixed fleet of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.[12]

Lt. Gen. Michael Hough, USMC deputy commandant for aviation, asked Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. to study arming the BA609 so that it could be used to escort V-22s.[13]

Specifications

Data from The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004[1] and the AgustaWestland BA609 profile [14 ]

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: 25 ft 10 in (7.92 m)
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 5 in (11.7 m)
  • Width with rotors: 60 ft 5 in (14.1 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 3 in (5.1 m); nacelles vertical (21 ft 10 in (6.6 m); nacelles horizontal)
  • 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:Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A turboshaft, 1,940 hp (1,447 kW) each

Performance

Interior measurements

  • Dimension (Internal Cabin):
    • Length: 161 inches (4.1 m)
    • Width: 58 inches (1.5 m)
    • Height: 56 inches (1.4 m)

See also

Related development

Related lists

References

  1. ^ a b Frawley, Gerard: The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004, page 48. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7
  2. ^ American Helicopter Society's VTOL Newsletter: March 2005
  3. ^ American Helicopter Society's VTOL Newsletter: June 2005
  4. ^ American Helicopter Society's VTOL Newsletter: July 2005
  5. ^ Padfield, R Randall (2008-10-07). "BA609 Civil Tiltrotor Still on Schedule". AINonline.com. http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-news-page/article/ba609-civil-tiltrotor-still-on-schedule/. Retrieved 2008-10-20.  
  6. ^ "BAAC 609 Flight Test Continues Development Pace". Press release. http://www.bellhelicopter.com/en/company/pressReleases/PR_07_0618-04_609_TestPace.cfm.  
  7. ^ "Bell Agusta BA609 Aircraft - Aerospace Technology". http://www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/ba609/.  
  8. ^ AgustaWestland looks to take full control of BA609 civil tiltrotor programme
  9. ^ Cowan, Rory (2001). "Terry Stinson, Chairman and CEO, Bell Helicopter Textron". Aviation Week. http://www.aviationweek.com/shownews/01nbaa2/newsmk20.htm. Retrieved October 10, 2009.  
  10. ^ "Bell Augusta: BA609". Aviation International News. 2004. Archived from the original on February 23, 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20040223172504/http://www.ainonline.com/Features/newrotorcraft03/ba609.html.  
  11. ^ "Selling CEOs on a Troubled Bird: A civilian version of the much maligned Osprey is coming to market. Will it fly?", Business Week, October 22, 2007, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_43/b4055076.htm  
  12. ^ http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/02/15/221576/civil-rotorcraft-special-rotorcraft-makers-strive-to-break-the-civil-rotorcraft-speed-limit.html
  13. ^ Bell asked to come up with a tilt-rotor gunship to escort V-22s
  14. ^ "AgustaWestland BA609 web profile". http://www.agustawestland.com/product/ba609#technicaldata.  

External links


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