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 …

Airbus’s Aerial Commuter of the Future?

Dean Sigler Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Airbus and its partner Local Motors have just finished a successful design challenge for delivery drones that can carry things like emergency medical supplies to selected destinations.  Recent announcements and the release of a patent drawing show Airbus is doing serious work toward delivering humans to their selected destinations in a scaled-up version of such drones.  Many brilliant people have tried to combine the benefits of ground and air transport over the years, including Molt Taylor, designer of the rightly famous Aerocars.  The example at Seattle’s Museum of Flight causes docents to lower their voices out of respect for the accomplishment. That’s certainly a concept promoted for last decade by Dr. Brien Seeley, head of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation and …

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 …

Volocopter VC200 Certified in Germany

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

With China certifying its RX1E two-seat electric trainer recently, Germany beats the rest of the world to electric rotary-wing certification with its provisional certificate for the VC200 Volocopter as an ultralight aircraft – certificate number VVZ, registration D-MYVC.  This will allow the German Ultralight Flight Association (DULV) to continue testing the vehicle, a program in place since 2013.  Testing has been done on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure – a telling name for the organization since the German government feels a strong digital infrastructure is necessary to efficient operation of all transportation. Further testing will lead to certification of the VC200 as an ultralight prototype and, following successful completion of testing, to series production. Volocopter’s …

A Snowstorm in Singapore

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Having worked on a three-week project in Singapore 10 years ago, your editor became accustomed to the daily temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and evenings at a temperate 80 degrees (which some locals described as a “cold snap”).  It makes one wonder where the name “Snowstorm” came from when students at the National University of Singapore worked two semesters to bring their mult-rotor recreational flying vehicle to fruition.  An eight-person student team working as “FrogWorks” started with a 1/6th-scale model, then scaled that up to something that could carry and be controlled by a single pilot. FrogWorks is a collaborative effort between NUS Faculty of Engineering’s Design-Centric Program (DCP) and the University Scholars Program (USP).  According to NUS, “FrogWorks engages …

54 Rotors, Nine Autopilots, and One Human Pilot

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

A man identified only as JetTurbine101 on his YouTube channel has been test flying a 54-propeller multi-rotor craft for the last year.  We see it evolving from back-yard flying to more open-air, higher moments in the videos below. His August 29, 2015 video includes the most detailed description of the Swarm man-carrying device so far.  JetTurbine man groups its counter-rotating propellers into six control channels with KK2.15 stabilization, the KK2 unit being a miniature autopilot normally used on model hobby craft.  The aircraft has a takeoff weight of 148 kilograms (325.6 pounds) and a claimed maximum lift of 164 kilograms (360.8 pounds).  Its combined motor power of approximately 22 kilowatts (29.5 horsepower) runs the battery pack down in 10 minutes. …

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 …

It’s Official, It’s a Volocopter Video

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Thomas Senkel of the German firm e-volo sends this video, the official promotional video for these multi-rotor vertical takeoff and landing aircraft at AirVenture 2012.  Better yet, the team will have at least their prototype machine on hand and many displays of future developments.  Note the modular structure of these vehicles at the end of the video. Innovation Hangar Alpha will house the VC2 Volocopter, successor to the VC1 and improved in many ways, including three pilates balls for bouncing your landing on.  The VC1 was the first “purely electrically powered, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft and flew last October.  At least the pilot is under the spinning rotors on this version. Seriously, the designs represent a clever and …