The Aurora Flight Sciences VTOL Plane

Aurora Flight Sciences just released a video showing their scale-model LightningStrike aircraft, which is capable of taking off and landing vertically without a runway. After this successful test flight, Aurora will complete a full-scale version of the unmanned plane for DARPA within the next 24 months. The LightningStrike has a bullet-shaped fuselage and two boxy wings, which hold a bank of 24 ducted fans that can rotate to both push the plane vertically off of the ground, and then propel it forward at more than 400 miles per hour. DARPA is putting a lot into VTOL planes because of their usefulness in all kinds of military and civilian operations — fixed-wing flight aircraft can fly faster and further than helicopters can, but they usually require long runways to take off and land.


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