In its 50th test flight, Vahana's Alpha One is starting to demonstrate its tilt-wing flight capabilities. Its eight electric props point skyward for vertical takeoff and landing, then tilt forward when in motion for efficient, fast winged flight over long ranges.
Vahana, a project by Airbus's A3 subsidiary, has now had its prototypes in the air for more than five hours of testing at the Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon. It has flown for more than seven minutes at a time, reaching top speeds close to 60 mph (97 km/h) and constantly gathering data to feed back into development of what really is a new and emerging form of aircraft.
In a video released on Friday, Vahana shows the Alpha One rising to a 210-foot high hover, then tilting forward to achieve forward motion much like a drone. Once it's moving, it tilts its wings forward to 30 degrees to accelerate up to 50 knots, or 57 miles per hour, before performing a series of other maneuvers.
Watching this video really does start to give you a sense of how agile and versatile these aircraft will become in the next decade or so, when many expect electric VTOL aircraft to become viable medium-range commuting options of the future. Check out the video below!
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