Australian company StopRotor Technology has completed the first in-flight transition between fixed and rotary wing using its prototype Hybrid RotorWing, a project that the company launched earlier this year that can fly as either a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft.
Computer rendering of the Hybrid RotorWing prototype. Photo courtesy of StopRotor Technology
The Sydney-based manufacturer is working on the Hybrid RotorWing in an effort to win the U.S. Defense Advanced Projects Agency's (DARPA) vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) X-Plane Program.
Rowan Watkins, founder of StopRotor, called the first in-flight transition from fixed wing to rotary wing a "key milestone" in the development of the aircraft. The Hybrid RotorWing has now completed fixed-wing takeoff and landing, rotary wing takeoff, landing and hover and fixed and rotary flight in the transition profile. StopRotor is seeking partners to help with the ongoing development of its prototype, which it believes could also be used for applications within the rapidly expanding unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry, if not selected for DARPA's X-Plane program.