The challenge of combining rotary-wing flexibility with fixed-wing efficiency continues to fascinate designers, tempting the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency into funding yet another approach to the perennial problem. Darpa has awarded Boeing a contract to study the DiscRotor, which would take off vertically like a helicopter, slowing the rotor and retracting the blades into the disc as it accelerates, until it morphs into a swept-wing aircraft powered by ducted fans. ...

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