Lockheed's "Samarai" Drone Spins Crazy


Anyone who lives near a deciduous forest knows the joy of the maple seed, or as we called them when we were kids, helicopters. Their single wing spins the seed, slowing its descent — so why shouldn’t a similarly-designed wing be able to spin faster and actually fly upwards? Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a new drone platform, not quite a nano air vehicle but still simple and light, that does just this. Looking at it, you’d never think the Samarai would fly. But fly it does, and remarkably well at that. Apparently getting it into the air wasn’t the hard part; after all, if you move a wing fast enough, it’ll lift, right? On the other hand, learning to control this single-wing design isn’t exactly intuitive. Traditional aviation ideas don’t apply when your entire craft is spinning.

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