The Leonardo Helicopters AW609 is a civilian version of the military Osprey V-22 aircraft. Unlike the Osprey, the AW609 comes has a pressurized luxury cabin for flights up to 25,000 feet. Leonardo Helicopters is a well-experienced maker of aircraft ranging from helicopters to fighter jets. The AW 609 will run about $25 million per unit and is expected to begin service in 2020.
Leonardo Helicopters (Headquartered in Rome, Italy)
Stage of Development
Company Name: Leonardo Helicopters
Headquarters: Rome, Italy
CEO: Alessandro Profumo
Product Name: AW609
Type of Machine: Private tilt-wing
Capacity: 8 passengers, 2 pilots
Altitude: Up to 25,000ft
Max Cruise Speed: 316mph
Flight Style: Two 25ft diameter rotors, each with three propellors, can tilt from vertical lift mode (like a traditional helicopter) to horizontal fixed wing flight (like a traditional airplane).
Regulation: Leonardo Helicopters is currently working on getting certification from the FAA before it can begin sales. It expects the certification process to be complete in late 2019.
Our Take on the AW609
Leonardo Helicopters has made a unique choice by designing an aircraft based on technology that's been in military use as early as 1997, rather than designing a new vehicle from scratch. While this may prevent Leonardo from designing a vehicle completely based on visions for the future, it will likely give the AW609 quicker route to certification and ultimately private flight. This strategy, combined with Leonardo's long time expertise in making and certifying aircraft, give the AW609 a strong chance at being one of the first VTOLs in the air for private use. Additionally, the advance and certification of the AW609 may create a clearer path for other new eVTOL aircraft to be certified.
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