New Helicopter-airplane Hybrid Design Could Be in the Air As Soon As 2020

Courtesy Leonardo

They’re called tilt-rotor aircrafts.

Italian aerospace company Leonardo is working on a new design: imagine if an airplane and a helicopter had a baby; a very fast baby. The hope is that said design would help civilians complete a whole multitude of important tasks quicker and, in some cases, save a few lives.

The tilt-rotor aircrafts Leonardo is working on wouldn’t require an airport; they would be able to land on heli-pads just as helicopters do. But they will be able to travel at speeds much faster than the common helicopter, which is where the airplane-borrowed design comes into play. According to CNN Travel, the tilt-rotor aircrafts would be able to fly at more than 300 miles per hour.


Courtesy Leonardo

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The first model is being created at a factory in Philadelphia, the goal being to receive FAA certification before 2019 closes out. If the timeline plays out, we might be seeing these new aircrafts in the sky as easy as 2020.


Courtesy Leonardo

While the exterior design is notable in itself, it’s the cabin that is catching headlines. The cabin of the new design will be pressurized, meaning it can reach heights of 25,000 feet without issue for anyone flying inside. This allows the plane to fly above bad weather, which is a current obstacle for the only other tilt-rotor aircraft on the market, the V-22 Osprey, which is used by the United States military.


Courtesy Leonardo

A hybrid aircraft like this would allow organs to be delivered much quicker to hospitals, as well as getting injured individuals to treatment in record times. It also provides life-saving opportunity in search and rescue missions, with the ability to fly both low to the ground and high up at fast speeds to cover lots of ground.

A plane like this comes at a price, a projected $25 million at the moment. And there are even plans to create a larger 25-seat version.