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Dubai Airshow: Leonardo world-first is a model of its type

Posted 19 November 2019 · Add Comment

The world’s first helipad and terminal for the civil version of Leonardo’s AW609 Tiltrotor aircraft has been unveiled by Gian Piero Cutillo, managing director of Leonardo’s Helicopter Division, and Captain Raman Oberoi, chief operating officer of Abu Dhabi-based Falcon Aviation.


A model of the heli-terminal is in the Leonardo flightline pavilion, clearing showing an AW609 parked on the roof.

The first heli-terminal will be built on the site of Dubai’s 2020 Expo, and be available to all visiting helicopters offering VIP, business, lounge and onward travel services. It will also be accessible to all types of passenger, including the disabled.

The design and concept is all Leonardo’s work and, for Falcon Aviation, it represents a solution for the company to expand beyond its existing bases.

“There’s a new regulation in the UAE that helipads must be certified,” said Capt Ramon, “and this provides exactly what was missing.” He said he expects to build more of the terminals around the region but would not be drawn on exact locations – or the cost of construction.

For Leonardo it’s another step towards bringing the AW609 into civilian service. Cutillo said the controversial aircraft is nearing the end of its long certification programme with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The AW609 combines the vertical take-off and landing ability of a helicopter with the cruise speed, range and payload of a fixed-wing aeroplane. It’s powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PT6 turboprops, can carry 9-12 passengers for up to 1,000nm, and has a maximum cruise speed of 275ktas – almost twice as fast as a similar size helicopter.

Its possible uses are VIP, medevac, search-and-rescue, energy services and government transport.

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