Volocopter Starts Autonomous Air Service Trials in Dubai

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

In June, Dubai’s Road and Transit Authority (RTA) announced its plans to test fly Volocopter’s 200 over the country by the last quarter of this year.  The government and Volocopter have succeeded in meeting that timeline, with demonstrations this week of Volocopter’s quiet ability to fly autonomously (although without passengers so far).  Aerial transit will be a small part of a much broader scheme, the government intent on providing excellent public transportation, as shown in this well-produced video. To ensure meeting Dubai’s ambitious goal, Volocopter’s designers tested the machine thoroughly in German skies.  Note the Grob Strato 2C by one of the hangars, the twin-engined airplane in which Einar Enevoldson, founder of the Perlan Project, set the still extant world …

Hoversurf – The Russians are coming with Flying Bikes

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

Hoversurf, a Russian flying motorcycle, has been getting a lot of press lately.  “Looks like a hell of a ride,” trumpets TheNextWeb.  Mashable headlines, “The first manned hoverbike could finally fulfill your ‘Star Wars’ dreams,” but points out, “Those dangerous-looking propellers spinning right next to the pilot’s legs.” New Atlas (formerly Gizmag) says it is, “Equally amazing and horrifying.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztr5eyASasQ Hoversurf’s Scorpion evokes Star Wars with its clean white gloss.  But like the movie’s speeder bikes flung about by heroes and villains alike, seems equally dangerous with its wooden propellers at two different heights – ankle-biter and knee-slapper.  Protective shields theoretically will prevent slicing and dicing, and future plans call for an enclosed cabin with the occupant more secure from …

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.   …

Quart in a Pint Pot

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

Lilium is still in its incubator stage, but drawing a lot of interest for its radical two-seat, high-speed aerial vehicle. EIT Climate-KIC, one of the funding organizations helping underwrite this startup, includes some startling claims in Lilium’s description. “Lilium is designing the world’s fastest and highest-range electric aircraft that is commercially available. “The two-seated light aircraft consumes half the energy of today’s most efficient electric cars and is so quiet that it can’t be heard flying in 1 km (@3,300 feet) altitude. It is propelled by electric impeller engines and features an extensive safety concept comprising a 3-fold redundant fly-by-wire control system, 12 redundant batteries and engines as well as a parachute rescue system for the whole aircraft.” The ESA Business …

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 …

From Ultralight Sailplanes to a Miniatur-Wunderland

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Your editor has several friends who lay claim to the appellation, “ferroequinologist,” (student of the iron horse), meaning they fancy miniature trains and the layouts that support them.  One friend helped construct a layout that takes up most of a good-sized building in Portland, Oregon – but even he would be dumbfounded by the massive installation in Hamburg, Germany – which includes an international airport in its midst that accounts for 180 takeoffs and landings per day and handles 1.2 million “passengers” per year. Blogmeister Klaus Burkhard oversees a wonderful web site based primarily on ultralight sailplanes.  His writings have alerted your editor to the twin-motor self-launching ultralight Holliday Obrecht and his compatriots are building at EAA Chapter 309 in …

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 …

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, …

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 …

e-volo Wins Lindbergh Innovation Award

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments

e-volo, the company that crafted the VC-1 16-blade ultralight helicopter last year, won the Lindbergh Prize for that accomplishment and for its ongoing development of the multi-rotor platform, with single, two-seat, and unmanned aerial vehicles in conceptual versions. Yolanka Wulff, CEO of the Lindbergh Foundation, shared their press release on this award, given April 20 at AERO-Friedrichshafen.  Erik Lindbergh presented the AERO 2012 Lindbergh Prize for Innovation to e-volo for the group’s “breakthroughs in redundancy, simplicity of controls and inefficiencies inherent in the control surfaces normally used in aircraft.”  The Foundation noted, “This aircraft was so innovative that it appears to be in a category all by itself.” The award cited the safety of multiply redundant motors, controllers, and propellers, …