Bell/Agusta Aerospace is to build a training centre for the BA609 civil tiltrotor adjacent to its headquarters at Alliance airport in Fort Worth, Texas.

The centre will begin training pilots next year, equipped with two full-flight simulators, a cockpit procedures trainer and classrooms.

The Bell/Agusta joint venture has not announced a training partner, but FlightSafety International operates the existing Bell helicopter training centre in Fort Worth and is producing flight simulators for the first operational tiltrotor - the US Marine Corps' Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey.

Four prototypes of the six- to nine-seat BA609 are under construction at Bell, with the first flight scheduled for next August and certification projected for 2003. The Bell/Agusta joint venture says it has orders for 80 aircraft.

Source: Flight International