Volocopter, Dubai Sign Autonomous Air Taxi Agreement

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dubai, already having penned a similar agreement with China’s eHang, will start test runs of autonomous air taxis in 2017 with the Volocopter. Volocopter’s Eventful Year Volocopter has had an eventful year, introducing its latest model, the 2X, at this year’s Friedrichshafen Aero E-Flight Expo and opening its new corporate headquarters.  Now, it looks forward to demonstrating its craft in regular service.  e-Volo writes, “Our vision becomes reality: Dubai’s government “Roads and Transport Authority” (RTA) has signed an agreement with us regarding the regular test mode of Autonomous Air Taxis (AAT) in the emirate. The test will start in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the project has been scheduled to run for five years.” The Volocopter 2X, according to …

Dynamic Flight Testing for Volocopter

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Kathrin Mohr sent this interesting update on the Volocopter VC200 demonstrating its dynamic flight properties.  Testing took place a “special flight test area in Bavaria,” with the goal being to find out how the two-seat vehicle handles at higher altitudes and speeds. The first manned flight took place in Bruchsal near Karlsruhe this year at the end of March, with managing director Alexander Zosel at the controls – when he wasn’t showing how the machine could manage itself hands off. By flying at around 330 feet, well above ground effect’s added lift, the VC200 shows it can maintain stable flight with adequate power, and can maneuver at higher speeds, up to 51.1 kilometers per hour (31.7 mph) in these tests.   …

It Flies Hands Free!  Could It Be Intel Inside?

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

e-volo’s Volocopter VC200 made its first “manned” flight on March 30, 2016, with managing director Alexander Zosel maintaining control for a few minutes, and then letting the 18-rotor vehicle find its own way.  He held both hands out the side door for several seconds to show the Volocopter was flying itself – and quite stably in hover at that.  He repeated the hands-off approach later in the flight. Zosel lightly held the single control stick in the machine, controlling vertical motion through thumb movement on the video-game-type controller, lateral motion by twisting the control stick, and banking by tilting the control stick.  It all seems intuitive and well harmonized.  The videos show the flight and its happy aftermath. Unlike conventional helicopters …

The Proof is in the Piloting

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Helicopter flying has been compared to patting your stomach while rubbing your head, something few manage well, if at all.  Imagine trying to not only keep  the rudder pedals, cyclic and collective under control but also fiddling with 18 throttles.  Even a conventional helicopter is a handful with one engine or motor.  Maintaining level flight with multiple lifting points at different points around the central fuselage would add to that level of difficulty beyond most people’s mental processing levels. Luckily, someone at Volocopter has worked out a very clever and quick-witted set of algorithms to take the stress out of that high-risk conundrum, as proven by company CEO Alex Zosel’s recent flight – single-handed and even briefly hands-off.  Heike Blödorn, …

E-volo (Doesn’t) Hit the Ceiling

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

According to its makers, “e-volo’s Volocopter is a revolution in aviation made in Germany.  Safer, simpler, and cleaner than normal helicopters, it has a unique way of moving – a groundbreaking innovation. The Volocopter is an environmentally friendly and emission-free private helicopter. Instead of one combustion engine, eighteen electrically driven rotors propel it.” Alexander Zosel, managing director of e-volo, says that the VC200’s maiden flight and first test flights in the dm-arena in Karlsruhe, Germany on November 17 are precursors of coming production models. “There are already numerous requests for the Volocopter from around the world,” he added. The two-seat vehicle made several flights lasting several minutes each, climbing within the gymnasium but not presenting any danger to hanging lights …

Even in Second Place, VC200 Dominates Awards

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Volocopter has evolved from a pilot sitting on a Pilates ball surrounded by multiple model airplane motors to the VC200 – the first Volocopter to carry two people, according to parent company e-volo.  As recipient of a 2 million euros grant from the federal ministry of economics and technology, e-volo has worked with a research and industry syndicate to craft the VC200. A sleeker, more finished-looking project than the original flight vehicle, the VC200 held pride of place 15 meters above the crowd attending the “GreenTec Awards” in Berlin, Europe’s largest environmental and economic prize.  Completed just in time for the event, and assembled in the auditorium where it received its award, the first prototype of the VC200 was an …

What Has 16 Motors, a Pilates Ball, and Flies?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Your editor would rest easier at night knowing that the intrepid test pilot of this stalky creation were strapped onto a proper seat with a proper restraint system, but the current impromptu nature of keeping the operator out of the multiple twirling blades has worked – so far. Despite its gangly, random appearance, the E-Volo is not just tossed together.  The 16 Hacker motors (editor’s best guess – or they might be budget Asian copies), controllers, and large diameter propellers need to be modulated with great finesse to maintain level flight, and that suggests a sophisticated control system, as designed by Stephan Wolf underlying the design.  It must work exceedingly well, since pilot Thomas Senkel reported that, “The flight characteristics …