Science: Convertiplane Progress

Along the expanding sector in aircraft design known as VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing), several U.S. companies have tried to meet military and civilian demands for a plane that can rise straight up, like a helicopter, then fly horizontally with the speed of conventional aircraft. Last week the first successful conversion in flight from helicopter to conventional aircraft was announced by the Defense Department. The pioneering hybrid: McDonnell Aircraft Corp.'s experimental XV1 convertiplane* (TIME, Feb. 15, 1954), designed for the Army and Air Force.

Half helicopter, half airplane, the stubby-winged XV1 made its...

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