Leonardo has announced a major step forward for the AW609 tiltrotor programme with the first production aircraft entering final assembly at the company's Philadelphia plant.
The AW609 will uniquely combine rotorcraft flexibility and turboprop performance into one versatile type. It flies twice as fast and twice as far as a typical helicopter while retaining the ability to hover and take off and land vertically. Like a fixed-wing aircraft, the AW609 safely cruises above bad weather ensuring a comfortable and quiet pressurised cabin for up to nine passengers, or a mix of patients and first responders.
The production AW609 features enhanced Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67A turbine engines, a modern Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion touch-screen cockpit with advanced full fly-by-wire digital flight controls, and a larger cabin door for greater versatility and ease of access/egress.
The AW609's composite skin panels were manufactured using advanced automated fibre placement (AFP) technology at Leonardo's facility in Brindisi, Italy utilising digital manufacturing.