AgustaWestland completes AW609 acquisition

AgustaWestland AW609AgustaWestland has announced that it has finalised the transaction with
Bell Helicopter Textron for the acquisition of the 609 tiltrotor programme. All
the 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.

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.

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.

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.

Terry Spruce

Terry is Senior News Editor and writes for both Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor. He is also responsible for our helicopter guides. Terry has been an aviation enthusiast since the early 1970s. He is a lapsed Private Pilot and ex-Piper Cherokee owner. He has flown a number of light aircraft and is comfortable sitting in the co-pilot's seat or the back of any aircraft. Before moving to journalism he was a banker for 20 years. You can contact him at: terry@corporatejetinvestor.com or follow him on twitter @Terry_Spruce

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