September 17, 2006 It makes sense that an agency vested with the responsibility of investigating the feasibility of promising ideas such as the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) occasionally says “no, that mousetrap won’t fly” and that appears to be what’s happened with the canard rotor/wing (CRW) X-50A Dragonfly unmanned air vehicle (UAV) we reported on last December.

The aircraft combined the vertical takeoff/landing capabilities of a rotorcraft with the high-subsonic cruise speed and agility of a fixed-wing airplane. The versatility promised by having a rotor for vertical takeoffs and landings that can be stopped in flight to serve as a fixed wing for jet cruise will remain unfulfilled for now as the US$52 million program has been canned after another prototype crashed during transition.