FrontFunners: Private Blend

    Private helicopter/airplane hybrids are winging our way. As of December, fliers had placed 65 orders for the two-pilot, nine-passenger BA609 Tiltrotor from Bell/Agusta Aerospace Co. (www.bellagusta.com). The aircraft takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter but flies like an airplane at about 317 mph, twice the speed of traditional helicopters of the same size. The aircraft, which will require no more than a 60-by-60-foot space to lift off and touch down, will fly to 25,000 feet and have a range of about 860 miles. The company expects to deliver the first Tiltrotor in 2010, at a price of $16 million or less. Tiltrotor pilots will need both airplane and helicopter certifications, as well as an additional tiltrotor-type rating.

    Photo by Adrian Koeppel
    The massive aircraft will measure an impressive 238 feet long and 385 feet wide…
    The first chopper to wear the Airbus Helicopters name, the H160 promises to be revolutionary…
    The forthcoming aircraft offers vertical takeoff and landing and can fly like an airplane…
    With Joby Aviation and ESAero, NASA has begun developing the LEAPTech all-electric airplane…
    The chopper can be outfitted with a conference table, swivel seating, and a mini galley…
    After two years of development, the fuel-efficient plane has completed its first test flight…
    This solar technology could have applications in commercial and business aviation…
    Built on a Beechcraft King Air C09A airframe, the plane has new General Electric engines…
    Photo by Paul Bowen
    The extended-range aircraft’s circumnavigation required just one stop and set two speed records...
    Photo by Airbus Group / CAPA / Cyril Abad
    The company hopes its E-Fan 2.0 training aircraft will lead to electric-powered jetliners…