In the face of a heightened focus on aircraft emissions reduction in the industry, electric-powered and hybrid aircraft, as well as aircraft that use biofuels, offer viable alternatives.  This blog has explored the development of the electric aircraft before in “Electric Aircraft May Soon be the Standard in the Business Aviation Industry.”  Recently, the development of electric aircraft took another step with the announcement that European helicopter maker AgustaWestland has built and flown the world’s first electric tilt-rotor aircraft.  

Named “Project Zero,” the aircraft employs two electric-powered rotors, one on each wing.  The rotors, which are located within the wingspan, can be rotated more than 90 degrees so that they can be used for lift-off and as propellers during normal flight.  This model is completely electric; however, AgustaWestland is considering a hybrid model that uses a diesel engine.  For more information, please visit AgustaWestland’s website.