The V-22 may not have made it to the Paris Air Show this year, but it's little cousin did, performing an impressive demo for the crowd each day. The Bell Augusta 609 (pictured) is designed to be the business variant of the tiltrotor line. Think of it as half Citation, half Jet Ranger. It's a great idea that could change everything in commuter travel if it proves itself.
But like its big brother the Osprey, the BA-609 has taken longer than expected to get to market. In fact, a search of the web produced this sanguine industry release from the Paris Air Show . . . 1997 version:
Paris Air Show-Le Bourget, France, June 15, 1997 -- The Bell Boeing joint venture today announced sales of its new Bell Boeing 609 civil tiltrotor aircraft, slated for delivery beginning in 2001. Twenty-one buyers have placed deposits to date for 29 of the worlds first civil tiltrotor aircraft, matching the ventures expectations for the nine-passenger tiltrotor. The announcement was made today at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France.
Okay, so the 609 is no longer a Bell-Boeing product. And okay, so 2001 came and went without any 609s being delivered . . . as did the next six years after that. That doesn't mean it's ceased to be a cool idea.Here's a video showing the 609 in action around Bell's factory (with music by Crystal Method for you House/Trance/Acid fans):