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VTOL

Drones

Whaddaya get when you cross a quadcopter with a plane? The HQ UAV

If you need a drone aircraft that can hover in one spot or perform vertical take-offs and landings (VTOL), then a multi-rotor contraption such as a quadcopter is the way to go. Should you be looking for something that can cover long distances as quickly and efficiently as possible, however, then a more traditional propellor-driven fixed-wing airplane will serve you better. So, what if you want both? Well, that’s where Latitude Engineering’s Hybrid Quadrotor UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) comes in. Putting it simply, it’s a quadcopter/fixed-wing combo. Read More

SpaceX Grasshopper successfully performs lateral divert test

For those readers who haven’t been following its progress, SpaceX’s Grasshopper is a prototype reusable launch vehicle that’s designed to perform a vertical landing back on Earth after delivering its payload into space. While it’s already managed a few low-altitude test hops, yesterday (Aug. 13) it reached a new milestone by performing a “lateral divert test.” Read More

Space

SpaceX Grasshopper tests sensor system, reaches record altitude of over 1,000 feet

Back in June, SpaceX's Grasshopper reusable VTOL rocket was flown to an altitude of 325 meters (1,066 feet) before landing on its original launch pad. The video of the flight (taken by a hexacopter drone hovering at 325 meters) has now been made available. The purpose of the flight was to test Grasshopper's full navigation sensor suite with the F9-R closed loop control flight algorithms to improve the precision of its landings. Grasshopper is designed to develop and test the technologies needed to return a reusable rocket from space missions. (There is no word on whether the cowboy mannequin was carried along by Grasshopper on this flight.) Read More

Aircraft

Hybrid RotorWing design transitions from fixed to rotary wing mid-flight

Attempts to combine the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter with the high-speed flight and long range capabilities of a fixed-wing aircraft have been tackled in a number of different ways – from tiltrotor designs, such as the V-280 Valor and Project Zero, to fixed rotor aircraft that transition from vertical to horizontal flight, such as the SkyTote and Flexrotor. Australian company StopRotor Technology has taken a different approach with its Hybrid RotorWing design concept which features a main rotor that switches from fixed rotor to fixed wing in mid air.Read More

Aircraft

Aeroscraft dirigible airship prototype approaches completion

The dirigible airship, the oddball aircraft of another era, is making a comeback. California-based Aeros Corporation has created a prototype of its new breed of variable buoyancy aircraft and expects the vehicle to be finished before the end of 2012. With its new cargo handling technology, minimum fuel consumption, vertical take-off and landing features and point to point delivery, the Aeroscraft platform promises to revolutionize airship technology. Read More

Eurocopter’s X3 takes to the sky ahead of U.S. tour

Eurocopter’s X3 hybrid helicopter has taken to American skies for the first time after being transported stateside aboard a chartered cargo jetliner early last week. The X3 is in the U.S. as part of a month-long tour in which Eurocopter will demonstrate the aircraft's operational capabilities for civil and military use. Read More

Drones

Flexrotor vertical take-off and landing UAV enters second phase of development

In an attempt to combine the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter, with the speed, range and altitude capabilities of a fixed wing aircraft, tiltrotor aircraft, such as the AgustaWestland AW609 and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey rely on powered rotors mounted on rotating shafts or nacelles at the end of a fixed wing. But the tiltrotor design isn’t the only option for aircraft looking to get the best of both worlds. Like Aerovironment’s SkyTote, the Flexrotor is designed to transition from vertical to horizontal flight without any pivoting of its rotor. Read More

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