Tech

Airbus debuts its half-plane, half-helicopter to the public

What you need to know more about

  • In correspondence with The Verge, Laurence Petiard, the head of external communications at Airbus Helicopters, disclosed that a ceremony was organized today for the partners involved in the Clean Sky 2 project.
  • Julien Guitton, the leader of the project, emphasized that while there’s a keen interest in high speeds, it shouldn’t come at the expense of environmental sustainability.

Airbus has unveiled its innovative aircraft, dubbed the Racer, blending the features of a helicopter and an airplane to enhance response times for emergency situations. Sporting plane-like wings and forward-facing rotors along with helicopter blades atop, the Racer is a unique hybrid of two aircraft.

According to Reuters, Airbus has presented a functional demonstration model of the Racer for the first time in Marseille, France, today. This unveiling comes after Airbus shared recent flight footage showcasing its ability to take off vertically like a helicopter and execute smooth landings without requiring extensive runway space. The Racer successfully completed its maiden flight this April.

In correspondence with The Verge, Laurence Petiard, the head of external communications at Airbus Helicopters, disclosed that a ceremony was organized today for the partners involved in the Clean Sky 2 project. This project, which comprises 40 collaborators from 13 European countries, witnessed the Racer in action both during flight demonstrations and static displays.

Julien Guitton, the leader of the project, emphasized that while there’s a keen interest in high speeds, it shouldn’t come at the expense of environmental sustainability. He pointed out that simulations indicate the Racer fulfills the Clean Sky 2 criteria by reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 20 percent compared to conventional aircraft of similar weight.

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Airbus has a history of developing hybrid test aircraft, such as the X3 demonstrator Concept introduced in 2010. In contrast, Boeing’s V-22 Osprey employs tilt-rotors to achieve enhanced flight speeds, primarily designed for air combat albeit being bulky. Additionally, ongoing efforts to develop vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft have persisted for years, yet they’ve yet to deliver on the envisioned future of flying taxis.

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