Nextbigfuture covered what was four quadcopters that combined for the first manned flight at the end of 2011.
This has now evolved into an all electric 18 propped vertical takeoff and landing system. It is the first purely electrically powered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft – the Volocopter.
The German Ministry of Transportation has commissioned a two- to three-year trial program to create a new category of ultralight aviation to cover the two-seat VC200 rotorcraft now in development. In Europe, ultralights are aircraft weighing less than 450kg and carrying up to two people.
In place of a conventional helicopter rotor, E-volo’s Volocopter has a fixed branch-like structure on which is mounted an array of battery-powered, electrically driven, individually controlled, multiply redundant mini-rotors.
Under the trial program, the German Ultralight Aircraft Association, Sport Aircraft Association and Federal Aviation Office will work with E-volo to create a manufacturing specification, legal regulations and training requirements for the new “Volocopter” ultralight rotorcraft category.
E-volo has received a €2 million subsidy from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology to help build the two-seat VC200, designed to fly at speeds exceeding 50kt (65mph) and altitudes up to 6,500ft with a flight time of more than an hour.
If they can achieve those goals the system has the potential to enable personal commuter flight. Vertical takeoff and landing means that large runways are not needed and point to point travel would be possible. Electrical power in a very lightweight system could be very fuel efficient.
E-volo has performed design studies of one person, two person and unmanned cargo vehicles.
Under the trial program, E-volo says, the plan is to grant the VC200 a provisional airworthiness certificate after endurance testing of the rotor array, passenger cabin and landing gear. This is targeted by mid-2013 to allow flight tests to begin at Bruchsal, home of DG Flugzeugbau, which is to produce the V200’s carbonfiber airframe.
At the end of the trial program, according to E-volo, prototype certification of the VC200 under the new Volocopter ultralight category will enable production to begin. E-volo says the Volocopter is very easy to fly but, in Germany at least, flying a VC200 will require a private pilot’s license.
SOURCES – Aviation Week via Talk Polywell, E-volo, Youtube
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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