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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!