Science: Pressure-Jet Convertiplane

Both military and civilian aircraft users have long demanded a helicopter-airplane hybrid: a "convertiplane" that can take off vertically like a helicopter and fly as fast and as economically as an airplane. Many designs have been tested, but none with notable success.

Last week McDonnell Aircraft Corp. showed its XV1 convertiplane, a joint Army-Air Force project designed to sidestep many of the difficulties. On takeoff, the engine blows air through the hollow blades of the rotor. When it reaches the tips, the air makes fuel burn in small "pressure jets." Their thrust spins the...

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