AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Crash Kills Two
An AgustaWestland AW609 prototype has crashed near Santhià, Italy, killing two test pilots today. It had taken off from Agusta’s airfield at Vergiate and the cause of the crash is still unknown. Early reports suggest the tilt-rotor aircraft was on fire before it crashed.
AgustaWestland released the following statement: "Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland confirms the loss of one prototype AW609 tiltrotor and the tragic loss of two pilots. The Company’s deepest sympathies are with the families. Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland is working with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the accident."
Data from Flightrader24 suggests the aircraft (registration N609AG) took off at 10:33 a.m. and was in the air for 10 minutes.
The AW609 is a twin-engined next-gen tiltrotor VTOL aircraft aimed at private and commercial operators. It's a multi-role aircraft that can be configured for transporting 9 passengers, search and rescue, law enforcement, maritime surveillance, training and government applications.
The last promotional video of the aircraft demonstrated its speed. (see below) In September, the AW609 set what AgustaWestland claimed was a speed record on a 1000-kilometer “point to point” journey, from their plant in Yeovil to Cascina Costa in just two hours and 18 minutes.
VIDEO 1 AgustaWestland Official AW609 Speed
VIDEO 2 AgustaWestland Official The AW609 TiltRotor revolutionises flying in the commercial vertical flight. Demonstrating AgustaWestland's commitment to innovation, it uniquely combines the attributes of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. It has the speed, range and altiture above-the-weather capability of a fixed-wing turboprop coupled with the vertical take-off and landing versatility of a helicopter.
More as information becomes available