Composites-intensive Volocopter achieves first manned flight

The personal aerial vehicle is designed to let anyone fly in the sky.

Why drive when you can fly? That's the mindset of the German firm e-volo, which has created the world’s first certified multicopter, the Volocopter VC200. The Volocopter is a personal aerial vehicle designed for anyone to fly. e-volo believes it will bring us another step closer to air taxi services and entire transportation systems in the third dimension. The Volocopter is made mostly from carbon fiber and weighs less than 1,000 pounds. In addition to cruise flights, it can also take-off and land vertically as well as hover in the air. The VC200 Volocopter has 9 batteries and 18 electric rotors.

The Volocopter VC200 received the permit-to-fly as an ultralight aircraft from the German aviation authorities in February 2016. In the context of the commenced test program, e-volo has started to conduct manned flights. On March 30th, e-volo Managing Director Alexander Zosel took the Volocopter out for a test flight on an airfield in Southern Germany.

“The flight was totally awesome,” Alex Zosel said right after his landing. “The machine was absolutely reliable, there were no vibrations, it was tremendous. I got in, we did the pre-checks for what felt like maybe 20 seconds, and after that I’d already got the all-clear for flying. I didn’t wait long, I simply pushed the lever upward and the Volocopter simply sprung upward in a single bound. It was unbelievable, it hovered totally weightlessly, I mean it didn’t at all feel like there were crazy forces at work, it was all just totally light and the Volocopter immediately converted every movement I made with the joystick.”

The Volocopter is piloted one-handedly with a single joystick. A comprehensive redundancy concept compensates any failure by critical components including the loss of several motors. This was demonstrated exhaustively during the certification process.

Here is a video of the flight:

The first flight of Alex Zosel marks the beginning of the Volocopter test flight program, which will be conducted in three phases. In the first flight phase, flights at a speed of 25 km/h maximum at low altitude are planned. In the second testing phase, flight maneuvers at a speed of 50 km/h at medium altitude will be executed. Test flights within the third testing phase aim to validate the system at higher altitudes and in the full speed range of the VC200 up to 100km/h. e-volo's goal is to build the Volocopter commercially within two years. 

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