Boeing NeXT VTOL craft completes first flight

MANASSAS, Va. Boeing reports that it has successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype, known as Boeing NeXt.

Boeing NeXt partnered with Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft; the company says that it will continue testing the aircraft -- which is esigned to have a range of up to 50 miles -- to advance the safety and reliability of on-demand autonomous air transportation.

During the recent test, the PAV prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover, and landing during the flight, which tested the vehicle's autonomous functions and ground-control systems. Future flights will test forward-motion, wingborne flight and the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes, which is typically the most significant engineering challenge for a high-speed VTOL aircraft.