Does it make sense to keep pursuing a goal that has eluded industry for decades? Not surprisingly, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) believes that it is, and has launched yet another bid to build a vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) vehicle that combines the low-speed agility of a helicopter with the high-speed capability of a fixed-wing aircraft. Darpa is hoping that bidders for its 52-month, $130-million VTOL X-Plane program will come up with new designs, and ...

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