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News Link • Transportation: Air Travel

DARPA shows off three new concepts for its VTOL X-Plane

•, Robin Burks
Concept after concept has come across DARPA's desks, but none have measured up. The problem, as DARPA sees it, is that nobody has yet been able to create a faster-than-ever VTOL aircraft without significantly sacrificing the aircraft's usefulness and range.
To find a solution, DARPA put out an open call to designers, birthing the VTOL X-Plane project. Out of the pool of concepts that came their way, DARPA has rounded up a veritable A-team of aviation companies: Boeing, Sikorsky Aircraft, Aurora Flight Sciences, and Karem Aircraft. These four, awarded with prime contracts for Phase 1 of the VTOL X-Plane's development, still have a huge amount of work to do.
The VTOL X-Plane's final design will need to meet some impressive criteria. The plane will have to sustain speeds of 345-460 MPH, have a carrying capacity of at least 40 percent of its own weight, and increase hover efficiency while also reducing drag. Basically, in every way possible, the VTOL X-Plane needs to blow current tech out of the water.

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