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Vertical Takeoff May Be In Air Travel’s Future

Airbus has filed a patent to fuse drone technology with airplanes to allow for vertical takeoff.

In a move that, if successful, could drastically reduce runway space needed for launching planes, Airbus has filed for a patent for technology that would allow vertical takeoff of aircraft. And that doesn’t mean a perpendicular to the ground vertical takeoff—this new technology would allow planes to lift into the air like a drone, parallel to the ground, then switch to forward movement for the flight.

According to the patent, reported by Popular Mechanics, four rotors running on independent motors would work like a quadcopter and lift planes into the air. The rotors would be powered by batteries and an internal combustion engine. The engine would also power a front-facing propeller that would guide the aircraft into horizontal flight.

Once the rotors have done their job lifting the plane and it moves into horizontal movement, each one will be stopped and enclosed into a pylon that will seal them off completely so they won’t slow the plane down unnecessarily. There’s a variation of the design that has two propellers facing frontwise to allow for higher speeds or heavier loads on the aircraft.

Right now the patent drawings don’t leave much room for more than two passengers on the aircraft, but the description of the technology seems to indicate that the size is scalable to get as small as delivery drones or as large as cargo planes. According to a YouTube video about the technology, planes would also be able to hover over a single spot before landing.

[Photo: United States Patent and Trademark Office]

Comments are Closed.
sdsearch September 7, 2016

Ironic that this is Airbus, which only makes big mainline planes. I agree with kronos319 about mainline planes, but I can see the benefit for remote mountainous areas (like many parts of Alaska) where this might allow small planes to land and take off where only helicopters (or in the case of adjacent water, perhaps floatplanes) can today. But Airbus doesn't make any of those small planes that are used in such situations.

kronos319 September 7, 2016

It's more likely this technology will be used for military applications like the V-22 Osprey which is already in service with the US Army. The advantages of this tech for commercial aircraft is none; the added weight required to take off that does not contribute to lift whilst flying is a huge drawback. We all know airlines make or break depending on the weight of aircraft so this design makes no sense for them. It's a novel implementation of the standard VTOL idea, don't expect to see it coming to an airport ever.