Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum has become the first woman to pilot the AW609 tiltrotor. Dubai’s first royal female pilot flew the tiltrotor for an hour during her visit to the U.S. helicopter headquarters of Leonardo in Philadelphia.
The aircraft is the world’s first tiltrotor set to receive civil certification. It can take off and land vertically and hover like a helicopter, while offering passengers the comfort of a turboprop airplane.
The AW609 combines a helicopter’s operational versatility (taking off and landing vertically) and an airplane’s performance advantages (pressurised cabin, speed, altitude and endurance abilities). It can be used for different missions, including VIP transport, emergency medical services, search and rescue, and government applications. It can fly at a speed of more than 500kmph with a range of almost 1,400km, which increases to 2,000km with auxiliary tanks.
Sheikha Mozah, who was the first woman to attain the position of First-Lieutenant Pilot with the Dubai Police, said: “I’m thrilled to be the first female pilot to test this revolutionary aircraft. It was not only 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.”
She said she had wanted to experience the AW609 since she first saw the early prototype images. “It is the natural evolution of my piloting experience, merging both fixed and rotary-winged piloting skills. Aircrafts like the AW609 tiltrotor make me feel really excited about the future of aviation, a future now open to more women who chose this industry,” she added.