As the Pentagon’s advanced research arm, DARPA shows few concerns about revisiting ideas that did not work. Technology advances, the rationale goes, so what failed yesterday could succeed tomorrow. The latest old idea to be dusted off is the tailsitter vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft. A tailsitter takes off and lands like a helicopter, but transitions to more efficient wingborne flight for greater speed and range. The configuration has been rediscovered by drone-makers ...

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