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VTOL

Aircraft

Autonomous 30-mile flight for Sikorsky S-76 commercial helicopter

Using technology developed for DARPA's Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program, a Sikorsky S-76 commercial helicopter has taken off and flown autonomously from Stratford, Connecticut to Robertson Airport in Plainville, Connecticut, covering a distance of around 30 miles (48 km), before safely landing autonomously. The entire flight was planned, monitored, and executed by an operator using only a tablet device.Read More

Aircraft

Lilium electric jet: VTOL air travel for the masses?

Can't face the drive to the airport? Why not bypass the whole circus and jump in your two-seat, vertical take-off and landing all-electric engine jet aircraft? That's the vision for the Lilium Jet, an aircraft currently being developed in Germany under the auspices of the European Space Agency's business incubation center that boasts fly-by-wire joystick controls, retractable landing gear, gull-wing doors, and a claimed top speed of 400 km/h (250 mph). The creators claim that this personal e-jet could be made available to the public as early as 2018.Read More

Aircraft

DARPA's unmanned X-Plane packs electric fans aplenty for vertical take-off and landing

If there was a competition for the oddest looking aircraft, then DARPA's VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) would have to be in the running for the main prize. With a modularized, cellular wing design that looks like a flying set of cupboards, the unmanned aircraft is a hybrid of fixed-wing and rotary wing technologies designed to create a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that boasts greater range and speed capabilities.Read More

Drones

VTOL Kestrel drone morphs into fixed-wing aircraft after takeoff

Nearly all drones currently fall into one of two categories: they are either fixed wing, which means their wings are rigid like an airplane, or they use rotary wings like a helicopter. Fixed-wing drones tend to have longer range and greater carrying capacity than the rotary-wing variety, but they lack the ability to takeoff and land vertically. For humanitarian and agricultural use, the strengths of both types are crucial. It's no surprise, then, that drone maker Autel Robotics has developed a tiltrotor unmanned aircraft that can takeoff vertically and transition into a fixed-wing flight mode once it gets into the air.Read More

Aircraft

AirMule VTOL flies untethered for the first time

Helicopters may be able to take off and land from places that fixed-wing airplanes can't, but those whirling exposed rotor blades still keep them out of tight spaces. That's why Israel's Tactical Robotics Ltd created the AirMule. It's an unmanned VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, which features lift rotors that are safely enclosed inside its body. Although we first heard about it two years ago, the prototype just recently made its first untethered test flight.Read More

Aircraft

Joby's wild 16-rotor convertible aircraft for long-range, high-speed, electric VTOL commuting

Personal electric VTOL (vertical take off and landing) commuting may not be far off, thanks to accelerating improvements in battery technology. Joby Aviation has put forward an incredible two-seater plane concept that uses 12 tilting electric propellers to provide multirotor-style balanced VTOL capabilities. Once it reaches cruising speeds, these rotors fold away into aerodynamic bullet shapes, and the aircraft can reach speeds of up to 200 mph (322 km/h) and ranges of up to 200 miles using four additional cruise-optimized props on the backs of the wings and tail fins.Read More

Aircraft

XTI Aircraft Company offers stakes in the TriFan 600 VTOL business plane

Crowdfunding is usually associated with consumer goods like smartwatches and drones, but XTI Aircraft Company of Denver, Colorado is hoping to score a double first with its TriFan 600. Pitched as the first commercially certified high-speed, long-range Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) airplane that combines the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed of an airplane, it's also the first major aviation project to launch an equity crowdfunding campaign in the wake of new rules approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Read More

Aerosense drones take to the skies

Last month, Sony Mobile announced a joint drone venture with Japanese robotics company ZMP. The first images and videos of the Aerosense quadcopter, fitted with Sony's QX30 lens/camera module, and VTOL UAV prototypes have been released.Read More

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