The Italian airline Leonardo showed its AW609 tilt plane at the Dubai Air Show in 2021 this month as the plane travels forward to the sky, report from New atlas reveals.
The unconventional aircraft could finally come close to FAA flight certification, nearly two decades after making its first test flight.
Tragic circumstances delayed the AW609
The AW609 first took to the skies in 2003 and has been renamed several times over the years, starting as the Bell / Augusta BA609. Unfortunately, a fatal crash during test flights in 2015 resulted in the death of test pilots Herb Moran and Pietro Venanzi and stopped the progress of the plane with an inclined rotor. This year, however, it looks like it will be back on track after new updates from Leonardo, as well as his recent screening at this year’s Dubai Air Show.
Leonardo points out press release that the AW609 is able to change the position of its rotors from vertical to horizontal in less than 60 seconds. In practice, this makes it an eVTOL aircraft, as it takes off vertically, but can then fly like an aircraft. Unlike most eVTOL aircraft, such VoloCopter multi-rotor taxiThe AW609 has only two propellers, which makes it a bit more traditional in some respects, while still having a really unusual design compared to the latest comparable models.
Watch a video of the AW609 in action, including its transition from take-off mode to cruise mode, in the video below.
Unconventional eVTOL designs
The AW609 is designed to perform a variety of missions, including search and rescue, medical transportation, and your regular passenger travel. The aircraft has a range of approximately 869 miles (1,400 km), which can be increased to 1,242 miles (2,000 km) with auxiliary tanks and flies at over 310 miles per hour (500 km / h), according to Leonardo.
Last month, Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo he said Reuters in an interview that it expects the AW609 to receive FAA certification by 2022. Leonardo has so far built four prototypes of the aircraft and is currently developing two production versions of the AW609, as well as a pilot training academy to learn how to operate an unusual aircraft.
Last week we announced another unusual eVTOL aircraft called eMagic Onewhich also maximizes efficiency by flying like an airplane while taking off and landing vertically. Designs such as the eMagic One and AW609 can help significantly improve the range of flying taxis, which are currently limited by battery technology and can usually only fly for short periods before recharging.