You could have a tiltrotor Osprey in your driveway by 2016

The military, since it has bigger sticks than everyone else, always gets its hands on all the coolest toys before the rest of us do. Eventually, military tech does make its way into the civilian market, and in about five years, you'll be able to buy your very own commuter-sized version of the V-22 Osprey planeocopter.

The V-22 Osprey (despite some early accidents) has been quite successful in its role as a military transport with its unique ability to transform from a helicopter to an airplane and back again. Such a design lets it utilize a helicopter's vertical take-off and landing ability while still having the speed, range and endurance of a fixed-wing aircraft. This is obviously too good of an idea to restrict to just the military, and helicopter manufacturer AugustaWestland has been flight testing its own version of the V-22 that's designed to take people with lots of money wherever they want to go.

aw609_tiltrotor-2.jpg

The AugustaWestland AW609 is currently undergoing flight testing, with the goal of getting its FAA certification by 2016, allowing you to buy one. Unlike the V-22, the AW609 is designed with comfort in mind, featuring a pressurized cabin that can hold six VIPs in style. It can land anywhere a helicopter can land, but it also has a top speed of about 300 mph and a range of over 800 miles, making it much more versatile than a helicopter would be.

Such coolness won't come cheap, though: back in 2001 (that's 11 years ago), the price was supposed to be "at least $10 million," which means you're probably looking at anywhere from $15 to $25 million by now. Oh well, if you have to worry about money over coolness, this probably isn't the toy for you anyway.

AugustaWestland, via Gizmag

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