Greased lightning: the AgustaWestland AW609 sets new speed record
The Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland AW609 TiltRotor has set a speed record on a 1,000 km. "point-to-point" journey.
The aircraft, with its unique combination of the turboprop airplane’s speed and helicopter’s take-off and landing capabilities, flew from its Yeovil facility in southwest England to its Cascina Costa facility near Milan, Italy, a distance of 1,161 km (721 miles/627 nm), in just 2 hours 18 minutes.
The AW609 TiltRotor features technology which will revolutionize commercial aviation transport: the record set in flight between Southern U.K. and Northern Italy clearly demonstrates the unprecedented advantages of the tiltrotor concept for point-to-point journeys. The AW609 will be able to connect two important cities, such as London and Milan, in about two hours, taking off and landing vertically from the cities’ urban areas just like a helicopter, flying at the cruise speed of a turboprop airplane in all weather conditions. Combining fixed-wing and rotary-wing flight attributes, the AW609 provides at least 30 per cent to 50 per cent time savings when compared to using a combination of car, helicopter and business jet, typically for travel to destinations up to 1,100 km (700 miles) away.
The flight started with a vertical take-off from Yeovil. The aircraft then climbed to its en route cruising altitude of 25,000 ft. (8,000 m), passing north of Southampton, just south of Paris, over the Alps and Piemonte in Italy, before descending and landing at Cascina Costa near Milan just 2 hours 18 minutes later.
The AW609 TiltRotor, with its unparalleled performance and capable of transporting up to nine passengers in comfort in its pressurized cabin, opens up new possibilities for a wide range of missions for corporate transport but also offshore transport, search and rescue, emergency medical services and homeland security among others.
The AW609 TiltRotor is set to achieve civil U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) certification in 2017 with deliveries scheduled to start soon after.