Ryan VZ-3RY Vertiplane C. 1958. Photo courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive
Before the tiltrotor became a viable concept, there was another design that attempted to combine the capabilities of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. The Ryan VZ-3 Vertiplane, which flew for the first time Dec. 29, 1958, managed to achieve short takeoff lift — long before the Lockheed Martin F-38B. The U.S. Army Aviation Museum has recently welcomed the Vertiplane to its showroom. Although the modern tiltrotor is a far cry from the Vertiplane, some would argue the old experimental aircraft was an early step to its development.
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