New Fixed-Wing VTOL Aircraft
The creation of the aircraft gave humankind an invaluable resource— we can travel great distances in record time. Until now, there have only been two types of aircraft: rotorcraft and fixed-wing. Rotorcraft are aircraft with vertical capabilities for takeoff and landing, and capable of hovering (i.e. helicopters). They are commonly used for emergencies because they can get to many hard-to-reach locations. Fixed-wing aircraft are those that require a runway for takeoff and are not capable of hovering (i.e. planes). Fixed-wing aircraft are used primarily for commercial air travel over longer distances.
But, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a combination of the two? With advancements in technology being made daily, what once was a dream has become reality. This new aircraft is called a fixed-wing vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. It’s a new hybrid aircraft which has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, and the ability to do it gradually at the desired speed and altitude.
The push for the creation of the VTOL aircraft was, in part, due to the need for a defense and rapid-response aircraft with all the maneuvering and ease of access of a rotorcraft and the long distance and speed capabilities of a fixed-wing, allowing it to reach remote locations. The VTOL can carry troops and emergency personnel directly to any location, instead of having to fly them across the country only to have to transfer to a helicopter to get the rest of the way. Sometimes what makes the biggest difference in any emergency situation is the response time. This concept has also been used by the drone industry with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for military, commercial, and law enforcement applications.
In 2016, there was a reported $1.98 billion in revenue for VTOL aircraft, and it is expected that by 2026 the commercial sector will reach record numbers. The military sector is expected to reach record growth due to its usage in inspection, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) applications.
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