Science: The Big Lift

To passers-by in Wilmington, Del., last week, the strange round, candy-striped craft might have looked like the UFO sighting of the century. As it hovered above the ground, the large sphere—as well as the four long wings sticking out of its sides—rotated slowly, like some ominous unearthly creature. In fact, the odd contraption was a practical terrestrial creation. Designed by the All American Engineering Co. of Wilmington, Del., the Aerocrane, as it is called, is an unlikely cross between helicopter and balloon. It should easily outperform both in at least one important respect:...