Saturday, February 25, 2006

News You May Have Missed -BA609 UPDATES 2/26

Game Pen
In hypothetical response to Bubblehead's (The Stupid Shall Be Punished here) introduction of a laser pointer/flash drive/pen, Stylus counters at one-third of the price with a writing game pen, complete with sound and visual effects. Obviously intended for busy executives (small enough to conceal in a pocket), travelers, and surgeons (H/T to my favorite anesthesiologist at the Book of Joe) , it may be loaned to noisy children in a pinch. The Game? Remember "Operation" when you were a kid? Here is the Operation Game Pen for $5.99. Be the first in your enterprise to own one.

Astounding Modernization
India's airlines ordered $6 billion of dollars worth of planes and engines illustrating a strong (25-30 percent growth rate) in passengers thanks to rising incomes of its rising middle class (300 million-strong). It is now one of the hottest aviation markets. The demand for qualified pilots nearly outstrips the supply.

The BA609 Tiltrotor (helicopters cannot do this) BELL/AGUSTA AEROSPACE
Offers the vertical takeoff and landing capability of a helicopter, with the cruising speed, altitude, and range of a fixed wing aircraft. These unique advantages of the BA609 Tiltrotor may revolutionize medium distance civilian air travel. Designed for low maintenance, the civil tiltrotor offers cost-effective, point-to-point transportation at cruise speeds up to 275 knots and at ranges up to 750 nautical miles.

[February 21, 2006] Where is it now? gaining altitude: First flown in 2003, the BA609 made its first transition to aeroplane mode in July last year, subsequently reaching a speed of 255kt. AgustaWestland has assembled the second BA609 prototype and is scheduled to begin flight-testing in Italy later this year. Certification is expected by the end of the decade.

This aircraft has the potential to end some time-consuming frustrations of modern air travel.

UPDATE #1: approximately 60 aircraft orders to date - Key successes in initial BA609 certification phase included: over 38,000 equivalent flight hours on full scale wing, over 54,000 equivalent flight hours on flaperon, pressurization tests passed for aircraft number 001 to 25,000 feet, and bird strike tests passed for fuselage, wing and tail. Handling qualities are excellent at all conditions tested and all nacelle angles. Gross weights to date range from 13,500lbs to 15,700lbs. Airspeed achieved to date is 277 kcas (319 miles per hour). Altitude achieved so far is 14,500 ft Hp. The BA609 exceeded the planned flight test points for 2005. Measured noise levels are better than expected both internal and external with no added suppression installed. Out side noise is like that of a passing high-end luxury car, internal is the same as a Citation VII.

The aircraft in standard configuration is fully pressurized and de-iced. The BA609 will fly twice as fast, twice as far as previous typical commercial VTOL aircraft, and at competitive lifecycle costs compared to alternative mixed fleets.

UPDATE #2: Agusta Westland’s boss, Giuseppe Orsi, agreed to the program stretch out to the end of the decade, but hinted an Italian certification could theoretically be obtained independent of the U.S. FAA.


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