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Going Forward in James Cameron's Wayback Machine

The gunships in the movie Avatar surely were inspired by the Bell Aerospace Textron X-22A of the mid-1960s (below), one of the many iterations of mankind's unquenchable thirst for Vertical-Takeoff-and-Landing machines. Although the tails of Avatar's VTOLS were lifted from the Bell-Boeing V-22 Ospre...

(20th Century Fox)


The gunships in the movie Avatar surely were inspired by the Bell Aerospace Textron X-22A of the mid-1960s (below), one of the many iterations of mankind's unquenchable thirst for Vertical-Takeoff-and-Landing machines. Although the tails of Avatar's VTOLS were lifted from the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, the two tilting ducted propellers are vintage Bell-Textron, which employed four. Bell built two X-22As; one was irreparably damaged in a 1966 emergency descent; the second is on display at the Ira G. Ross Aerospace Museum in Buffalo, New York.

Photo: Code One Magazine

Preceding the X-22 were the 1950s Ryan X-13 jet-powered VTOL , the  Bell X-14 series of vectored jet thrust VTOLS, and the Hiller X-18 tilt-wing VTOL. Finally, in 2006, the Bell-Boeing MV-22 tilt-wing Osprey, first proposed in 1983, entered service with the Marine Corps.

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