On April 24, Aurora Flight Sciences announced that it had reached an agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to conclude the joint hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) X-Plane program that was developing the XV-24A LightningStrike. “When DARPA launched the idea of distributed electric propulsion in 2013, it was a novel concept. Today, it is widely accepted as the catalyst to a sophisticated electric air transportation ecosystem,” said Aurora’s founder, Chairman and CEO John Langford.
Instead, the company would apply its knowledge, experience and resources toward its electric VTOL air taxi concept being developed in partnership with Uber for its Elevate construct. The VTOL X-Plane program is considered a success, particularly due to the impressive accomplishments of its Subscale Vehicle Demonstrator (see “Hybrid-Electric LightningStrike,” Vertiflite, March/April 2017).p