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MM: Airbus' Helicopter With Wings; Boring Company Update

In this Manufacturing Minute episode, Elon Musk has exciting news about his Boring company and Airbus designs another helicopter with wings.

An Update On Elon Musk’s Boring Company

So, I’ll be the first to admit that when Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first spoke about The Boring Company, I didn’t take it seriously. But now, six months later, it looks as though the company might actually come to fruition.

To recap, Musk tweeted (as he so often does) about his frustration with LA traffic, followed by an idea to build a tunneling machine that would burrow beneath LA to help with traffic congestion. Essentially, his design would enable cars to descend below the streets and then be shuttled through on electric sleds in tunnels about 14-feet wide. 

In the six months that have passed, not only has Musk detailed the project at a TED conference and legitimized it with a company website, but a test tunnel is now currently being dug at the company’s LA headquarters. Most recently, Musk even tweeted that he’d had “promising conversations” with the Mayor of LA regarding tunnel network logistics and permits.


So, do you think Musk’s tunneling company could help transform LA, or is this just simply a far-fetched idea more complicated than realistic? Tweet me your thoughts @MnetNews or leave your comments in the section below. 

A Copter Concept With Wings

Airbus has been playing around with hybrid helicopters for a while. In 2011 they showed off their Eurocopter X3 equipped with two turboshaft engines powering a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers on short-span fixed wings—giving it the vertical takeoff and hover capabilities of a helicopter with the fast cruise speeds of a turboprop-powered aircraft.

Now Airbus is building on the concept with plans announced at the Paris Air Show for the code-named Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft or Racer. Described as “the best trade-off between speed, cost-efficiency, sustainability and mission performance” the Racer is being developed as part of Europe’s multi-organization Clean Sky 2 initiative. 

The Racer will have a lightweight hybrid metallic-composite airframe, cruising speed of 249 mph and be optimized for a low acoustic signature. The props and main rotor will utilize two RTM322 engines, and an “eco mode” may allow one of those engines to be stopped and restarted in flight—in turn saving fuel and increasing range. 

The first Racer should begin assembly in 2019 and take its first flight the following year. 


Could hybrid copters take off? What sorts of uses could you see for aircraft like this? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below. 

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