The falx hybrid-electric tilt-rotor concept in civilian trim.
Tilt-rotor aircraft have been around since the 1950s, offering the vertical take-off, hovering and landing abilities of a helicopter with the range, high flight ceiling, speed and fuel economy of a turboprop aeroplane. Now a new venture from Falx Air Vehicles is planning to push the fuel economy angle even further by using a hybrid-electric motor and inbuilt solar arrays. The company expects its upcoming compact single and double-seater tiltrotor aircraft to use as little as 10 litres of fuel per hour airborne, and the quiet electric operation should see these small, light and manoeuvrable aircraft make solid stealth vehicles for military uses. Though not yet confirmed, we may see a full-size prototype as early as the Farnsworth air show this year, and Falx is aiming to have the craft fully certified by the end of 2009.