Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Marwan Al Maktoum has become the first woman to pilot Leonardo’s AW609, the world’s first tiltrotor aimed at the civil market.
The rotary wing aircraft maker says the test flight took place may 10, during Sheikha Mozah’s visit to Leonardo’s United States helicopter headquarters in Philadelphia where she “piloted the AW609 tiltrotor, setting a new and important milestone for female pilots in civil aviation.”
The AW609 is one of the most significant technological innovations in the civil aviation landscape, melding the helicopter’s operational versatility (taking off and landing vertically) and the airplane’s performance advantages (pressurized cabin, speed, altitude and endurance abilities), opening new and exciting possibilities for passenger transport and public service.
“Piloting the AW609 has been on my bucket list since I first saw the early prototype images. It is the natural evolution of my piloting experience, merging both fixed and rotary-winged piloting skills. I am still pinching myself for this opportunity. Aircrafts like this one make me feel really excited about the future of aviation, a future now open to more women who chose this industry,” Sheikha Mozah said after the flight that lasted one hour.
The AW609 tiltrotor can take off and land vertically and hover like a helicopter, and fly offering passengers the comfort of a turboprop airplane. Able to operate different kind of missions, including VIP transport, emergency medical service, search and rescue, and government applications, the AW609 can fly at a speed of more than 500 km/h with a range of almost 1,400 km, which can reach 2,000 with auxiliary tanks.
“This is not just a personal milestone but an opportunity to shatter another glass ceiling for women. I always push myself beyond my limits to prove that if I can do it, it is also within the reach of anyone else who is determined enough to try,” added Sheikha Mozah who is also rated to fly the AS 135 and the Boeing 777.