The BA 609 aircraft has received very many positive reviews from air industry analysts. The purpose of this paper is to look at those positive reviews alongside other perspectives, and then carry out a cost benefit analysis to see whether investing in such machine is advantageous to a company.
Technical aspects for the BA 609 aircraft
History of the Tilt Rotor
The Tilt Rotor concept has its roots from NASA as far back as 1957. At that time, the concept was more or less an experimental one and this latter organization began flying that aircraft in 1977. Subsequently, it entered into an arrangement with the Boeing. They continued building these aircrafts and subsequently delivered them to US marines in 1999. Three years before that, this aircraft had been unveiled formally.
But after working together, Boeing felt that there were too many risks for the company as a partner. Instead, they opted to remain as one of the most prominent subcontractors for this company. It should also be noted that the design, contracting and sale of that aircraft were for markets within the United States and also for some in the European continent. (Frewlay, 2003)
The first flight for the BA 609 began in 2000 and deliveries continued until 2002. The United States Federal Aviation Authority found it necessary to draw up different certification ratings for the Tilt rotors and also pilot type rating were dealt with in this regard.
Acquiring the air craft
When starting an airline business, the most important aspect will be the product itself which in this case is a Tilt Rotor BA 609 Aircraft. A thorough analysis of this business must begin with the acquisition of the product. In order to get hold of a BA 609 tilt rotor aircraft, then one must identify some aircraft leasers within the market. (Aerospace technology, 2008)
Usually, an average lease will lie anywhere between eight hundred to nine hundred thousand dollars per month. In order to start operation with these aircrafts, then it may be necessary for one to comply with lease regulations covered by these authorities. The business under consideration must pay the last and first payments of the lease prior to taking the product. Lease periods vary depending on the arrangement that the business and the aircraft leaser have agreed upon.
However, most leases may take a period of five years or so. Nonetheless, one cannot buy themselves out of such an arrangement. It should be noted that in certain situations deposits may be mandatory in order to carry out these changes. Lead times of sixty days are often given if the lease will be valid for a period of two years.
After acquisition of the aircraft, the operation processes will be the nest items on the agenda. First, it should be noted that this model i.e. the BA 609 is the first commercially operated tilt rotor aircraft. The first major advantage of such an aircraft is that it will provide consumers with a safe environment against which to travel. Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) compliances that are mandatory for twenty year old aircrafts will not be applicable to this model. This is because the BA 609 is only seven years old in the market today. The reason behind these regulations is that aircrafts built twenty years ago may have parts that are no longer being manufactured thus putting flight users at a serious safety risk. (Bell, 2007)
In terms of its noise levels, the BA 609 will be particularly safe to use owing to the fact that it is already noise complaint. According to the FAA, there ought to be fifty percent noise compliance levels within aircrafts prior to 1997 and twenty five percent more after that year. An entire fleet is required to be totally noise compliant after 2000; aircrafts that were in operation prior to 1997 asserted that they could not implement those regulations.
However, this issue does not apply to the BA 609 model because the latter aircraft was set up at a time when the rules had already taken effect. In fact, no additional costs will have to be put in order to implement those noise regulations. The latter revelation is an important one for any aircraft business owing to the fact that prevention is always better than cure. It would be more efficient to operate aircrafts that are already noise compliant rather than having to change them after they have already began their operations. (Trautvetter, 2007)
The Tilt Rotor BA 609 contains some of the most desirable features that one could expect from an aircraft. First of all, it offers high performance without compromising on the flexibility aspect of the aircraft. This is largely because the latter aircraft can be easily dispatched. On top of that, it can be able to hover in the middle of a journey and can work new coastlines. Its cruise speed has been estimated at around 275 knots or 510 kilometers per hour and an un-fueled range of approximately seven hundred nautical miles. This figure is very advantageous for pilots irrespective of the kind of function that they may be intending to carry out. (American Helicopter Society, 2005)
It should be noted that compared to other conventional aircrafts, the Tilt rotor BA 609 has an ability to search and reach targets two times faster than the former mentioned aircrafts. In fact, aeronautical comparisons have shown that a helicopters’ speed is only forty four percent of the Tilt Rotor’s.
The latter model can be utilized for rescue missions very effectively because it offers flexible ascending and descending times. In terms of descending times, it is capable of going twenty five thousand feet below sea level. And like any other craft, the BA 609 can carry about six people for hoist recovery efforts. When compared to a helicopter, this is a highly efficient machine. One of the commonest uses of the BA 609 is in search and rescue missions. The following features in the aircraft can go a long way in making such missions highly effective;
- Search weather radars
- Health acre tools
- Basket and pump
- Rescue hits
- Customized features that can be requested by the clientele (Aviation week, 2001)
All these state of the art technologies will go a long way in ensuring that consumers get value for their money. Consequently, their subsequent satisfaction with the aircraft is likely to boost profit margins either through their continual purchases or through referrals to their colleagues and associates. The BA 609 is also flexible because its configuration can be changed so as to accommodate extra people, for instance, it can be used to transport a co pilot, pilot and twelve more people at a time.
It should be noted that this aircraft has been made an all weather aircraft, consequently, it is able to fly into icing conditions; a situation that has been particularly problematic for other machines designed to serve similar functions to the BA 609. This means that minimal preparations will have to be taken when heading to such geographical locations or in instances when the conditions have occurred even when they were not anticipated.
Flexibility within this aircraft is also depicted by the heightened levels of vertical flight flexibility in helicopter mode. Also, in the event that it may be serving naval purposes, then this aircraft it highly compatible. This means that it is possible to accommodate decks that vary from three to eleven tons at a time. The projection range of such a machine is much higher than what other aircrafts on the market can offer.
One cannot boast of having a successful aircraft business without adequate consideration of fuel related expenses. The BA 609 Tilt Rotor has very efficient fuel and this is baked up by the fact that it posses environmentally friendly characteristics during fuel use. This means that operating costs will be lowered and there will be more savings that can then be directed towards service provision. This is likely to make the business more profitable through superior services and minimum costs. (US Military, 2008)
The figures about recent purchases of the BA 609 Tilt rotor speak for themselves – about eighty units have been ordered by clients located in approximately twenty countries worldwide. Some of these clients happen to represent military or other government related groups. Most consumers claim that they are drawn to the product because of its unique combination of versatility, performance and even productivity. This means that the inadequacies of fixed rotor winged aircrafts such as helicopters can be easily overcome.
Additionally, these large sales have been reported owing to the fact that a number of consumers have been replacing traditional carriers that operate using fixed or mixed rotors. In fact, most of them claim that the Tilt Rotor aircraft is the face of the future within the aviation industry. Sales have been growing tremendously thus indicating that there are high possibilities of profit in such a business venture.
The Tilt Rotor BA609 aircraft is also very effective upon consideration of certain applications such as in the military. First of all, the military is currently in the process of carrying out a replacement project for some of its aging assets that include those ones serving both water and air. Consequently, there is a vacuum created in the latter government arm which the BA 609 can fill very easily.
The BA 609 has been considered as one of the most effective replacements for these older assets owing to the fact that it can go a long way in offering most of the qualities needed in military operations and these include; speed, comfort, altitude and good vertical and landing capabilities. The military may not be able to find all of these qualities in one package as is the case with the BA 609. The latter organization is highly interested in a machine that will have operational efficiency while at the same time maintain a high maximum operational flexibility. This means that the military can carry out its operations in a stress free manner. (Randall, 2008)
There are certain needs that are unique to the military and can be easily be covered by this machine. First of all, it is often common to find that military aircrafts need to move from point to point. This may not be easily achievable in other types of aircrafts but the BA 609 can easily deliver on this. Additionally, the latter operations may sometimes entail the flying into unconventional environments. This aircraft is pressurized and can easily respond to changes in weather conditions during operation.
One of the other benefits that the BA 609 can offer the military or any other consumers for that matter it’s the easy way in which it can change from airplane to helicopter mode. In fact, this can be achieved within a period of about twenty seconds. When there is a need for the aircraft to fly like a conventional fixed wing airplane, then its nacelles are usually tilted horizontally. On the other hand, when there is a need for the aircraft to be like a helicopter then its nacelles are tilted in the vertical direction. (Aviation International News, 2004)
In the past, the military has been utilizing traditional fixed wing aircrafts when locating groups that may be carrying out illegal activities or in other emergency cases. Usually, these fixed winged machines tend to have wide ranges and ease of locating targets. Also visual contacts are normally made through the latter aircrafts. However, in situations where there is a need to carry out the actual mission or there is a need to interdict, then chances are that a helicopter will be used. But with the advent of the BA 609, then all these diverse functions can be carried out at the same time and some additional advantages can be added.
For example, it can offer at sea deployability in which it stages from a large cutter. Also, it can fly at relatively low attitudes so as to avoid detection by the wrongdoers being captured. It can also be able to carry out missions in icy areas due to its anti icing and de icing features. Due to the increasing numbers of advanced orders from different military consumers, it can therefore be asserted that this aircraft will provide adequate services in the military in a cost effective way.
Shown below is a diagrammatic representation of this aircraft
Source: Aerospace Technology (2007)
Shown below is a summary of some of its operational characteristics
|Trait||Measurement in American system||Measurement in British system
|12, 800 ft||3866m|
(when all engines are in operation)
Useful laod at
10, 400 Ib
16, 815 Ib
|Capacity||Certified for IFR operations
Configured for search& rescue
Source: Aerospace Technology (2007)
Cost benefit analysis
When one analyzes the BA 609 aircraft, one of the major issues that must be put under reconsideration is with regard to this aircraft’s long term costs. A number of experts have claimed that the price range of sixteen million to twenty million associated with this model may be very problematic for some parties. This is largely because there are also a series of operating costs that must be included and thus may prove to be burdensome to the client.
This situation is further compounded by the fact that the BA 609 Tilt Rotor is only a nine seater aircraft. In fact, for the price of one BA 609, one can purchase two light jets and one helicopter. This means that three assets will have to be replaced by one. However, instead of regarding this matter negatively, one can look at it more positively; first of all, even if there will be two other assets absent for missions, the one asset replacing it will be able to do the job of those assets that it is replacing.
Additionally, since one pilot will be operating it, then it may minimize the costs of staff required to run the business. The latter machine is also good for business because it will have minimized some of the carbon emissions that are associated with the use of so many aircrafts at the same time. (Bell, 2004)
One must not forget that operating costs will go a long way in ensuring that the investment made in a BA 609 is worthwhile. Statistics show that this aircraft requires close to five thousand dollars hourly. Owing to the unique combinations and benefits that it will offer, then the latter operational costs are highly justified.
It is likely that the latter aircraft will receive positive responses from the market because there is a need to inject a new product into the industry. Analysts claim that European markets have become stagnant. Consequently, any introduction of new products in the air transport industry can go a long way in ensuring the success of the product.
A lot of interest has been generated around the BA 609 product. This enthusiasm is likely to be translated into the purchase of the commodity and it can therefore provide substantial returns for the business under consideration.
Lastly, the US Marine Corps have successfully used the BA 609 tilt rotor in Iraq. Many potential consumers closely watched its performance there because that was the first time it was deployed for such large missions. Similarly, both private and public functions can be effectively achieved by this aircraft. This investment is therefore worth making.
The BA 609 is one of the greatest innovations in the airline industry and it’s technological, operational and costs analyzes testify to this. First of all, the aircraft can be easily acquired through lease agreements; it has been tested by the US military and has worked well for them. Besides these, the latter aircraft can provide flexibility in operation since it can be in helicopter or plane mode. It has ample load capacity, icing capabilities and numerous other features that make it stand out from the pack. While acquisitions may be a bit high, they can be offset by the operational uses and this will go a long way in boosting its success.
Frewlay, Gerard (2003): The International Directory of Civil Aviation, New York, Aerospace Publications
American Helicopter Society (2005): VTOL Newsletter, 16th Feb 2008, available at http://www.vtol.org/news/issues705.html#tilt
Randall, Padfield (2008): AIN, BA609 Tilt Rotor still on schedule, 16th Feb 2008, available at http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-news-page/article/ba609-civil-tiltrotor-still-on-schedule/
Bell (2007): Press Release, BA 609 Flight Test Continues Development Pace, 16th Feb 2008, available at http://www.bellhelicopter.com/en/company/pressReleases/PR_07_0618-04_609_TestPace.cfm
Aerospace technology (2008): Press Release, Bell Augusta BA 609 Aircraft: Aerospace technology, 16th Feb 2008, available at http://www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/ba609/
Aviation week (2001): On the record, 16th Feb 2008, available at http://www.aviationweek.com/shownews/01nbaa2/newsmk20.htm
Aviation International News (2004): New Rotor craft, 16th Feb 2008, available at http://www.ainonline.com/Features/newrotorcraft03/ba609.html
Bell (2004): BA 609 Brochure, 16th Feb 2008, available at http://www.bellagusta.com/pdf/BA609_2004.pdf
Trautvetter, Chad (2007): New Turboprops, EPIC LT Report
US Military (2008): BA 609 Tiltrotor, Associate Press