A NASA-led engineering team is unveiling a new aircraft design at an American Helicopter Society event in San Francisco. The 2pm PST presentation is entitled “aerodynamic and acoustic design of a low-noise tail-sitter“. The aircraft was profiled briefly this morning by the Daily Press newspaper, in NASA-Langley’s nearby city of Hampton, Virginia. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of detail yet.
I haven’t seen a tailsitter seriously pursued since the Skunk Works’ legendary founder Kelly Johnson canceled the XFV-1. He apparently decided trying to land a plane looking straight up is not exactly practical.
I wonder how NASA’s team intends to solve that problem.
Update: NASA released a video of the “Puffin” Personal Air Vehicle about two months ago. The video shows how NASA intends to solve the classic tailsitter landing problem. The pilot is standing upright on landing, rather than looking straight up at the sky. (h/t: Commenter Urban)