Faster than a helicopter, nimbler than an airplane
The V-280 Valor can fly faster and farther than a helicopter, reaching a top speed of more than 320 miles per hour—a whole lot faster than the venerable Black Hawk’s maximum of 183. This is a new tiltrotor aircraft, meaning its propellers can pivot from horizontal to vertical, allowing it to takeoff and land vertically while still retaining the speed advantages of wings and forward-facing props. The V-280 prototype achieved first flight in December 2017, and it promises to be a smaller, lighter, and more nimble version of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor. It’ll also be easier to fly, and less damaging to landing and takeoff surfaces: Only the Valor’s rotors will tilt skyward, not the entire engine. This protects surfaces from intense heat, and reduces the dust that can obscure a pilot’s vision.