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- This is the story of the race for vertical take-off aircraft and the amazing projects developed by the Russians, Europeans & the US. The two superpowers harboured a common fear, vulnerability of runways in the event of a surprise enemy attack. So both turned to vertical takeoff and lift aircraft-VTOLs. We revisit the designs of WWII German VTOL experiments including the Heinkel Skylark and the Triebflugel. We learn that in the early years following WWII, the European powers recruited German VTOL designers led by the legendary Willi Messerschmidt. US aircraft designers, meanwhile, devised two "Pogo" design aircraft, one from Convair and another from Lockheed. Britain's entry, the highly innovative P.112, evolves into the Harrier Jet, the VTOL workhorse of US Marines. Our story concludes with a look at the Post-9/11 world and the need to conduct warfare in remote battlefields without the benefit of runways. The solution: the multi-mission capable F-35 joint strike force fighter with its set of heavy lift fans more>> <<less
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