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Leonardo AW609 prepares for icing trials
Leonardo's AW609 TiltRotor programme is expected to start icing trials soon following recent ground and flight testing activities. These advances have been made with FAA certification in mind, which remains on track for 2018.
Read this story in our March 2017 printed issue.

Leonardo's AW609 TiltRotor programme is expected to start icing trials soon following recent ground and flight testing activities. These advances have been made with FAA certification in mind, which remains on track for 2018.

The third prototype, based at Leonardo's facility in Philadelphia, has performed several weeks of unrestrained ground testing and, more recently, flight trials that allowed avionics and all systems to be fully tested. During initial flights, the aircraft performed basic hovering and manoeuvring, and patterns around the airport, concluding with hover landing. Additional flights up to altitudes of 4,000 feet with short takeoff and landing are planned shortly. The aircraft will undergo icing trials in Marquette, Michigan, through the winter. The tests will ensure the AW609 can fly in known icing conditions and reach required operational standards.

The fourth AW609 prototype is under construction, with the first production build aircraft also slated for 2018.

The flight characteristics of the AW609 combine the benefits of a helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft into one aircraft. It can fly above adverse weather conditions with up to nine people or a combination of stretchers and medical attendants in a pressurised cabin with turboprop-like speed and performance. Close to 60 units have been signed for already by customers around the world, inclu-ding three for the UAE Joint Aviation Command. The aircraft will be able to fulfil patrol and search and rescue, offshore transport, executive trans-port and homeland security roles.

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