Bell is planning to certificate the BA609 tiltrotor in 2007. The announcement comes as the joint venture with AgustaWestland prepares for the aircraft's first ground runs this month, followed by low-speed flights at the end of the year. Bell had set a 2002 certification target for the civil tiltrotor, but decided to slow development to keep in line with the US Department of Defense's troubled Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey programme, flight development of which has now resumed after an 18-month grounding, following two fatal accidents and a series of high-level investigations.

Source: Flight International