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AW609 TiltRotor aircraft completes autorotation tests

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On April 28, 2014, AgustaWestland announced that its AW609 tiltrotor aircraft completed autorotation the aircraft back in February. These test were flown at the Arlington, TX flight test facility and closely monitored by the FAA.

An autorotation refers to the rotors of a helicopter turning in response to air moving up through the rotor as the aircraft descends, rather than being driven by an engine, thereby allowing the aircraft to land safely in the event of a complete engine failure. The autorotation trials, in which the aircraft clocked up 10 dedicated flight hours, saw the AW609 complete over 70 power-off conversions from airplane mode to helicopter mode.

AgustaWestland, which took full ownership of the program in 2011 from Bell Helicopter, is aiming to gain FAA certification for the AW609 in 2017 and says it is acquiring new equipment and tooling to ensure that existing orders will be fulfilled immediately following said certification.