A German firm has revealed a radical design for a personal helicopter it says could be the future of transport.The Volocopter uses 18 rotors, which its inventors say make it ‘safer simpler and cleaner’ that current designs.The firm behind it says its first manned flight is about to take place – and hopes it could change the way we travel, replacing both planes and cars.
The initial two-seat design uses battery packs, with a flight-time duration of only about 20 to 30 minutes.It will be certified for sport flying, Alexander Zosel told Wired , and he plans to sell the copters for about $340,000.
The fact that it was conceived of as a purely electrically powered aircraft sets it apart from conventional aircraft.Through the use of its many propellers, the Volocopter can take off and land vertically like a helicopter.A considerable advantage, apart from the simple construction without complex mechanics, is the redundancy of drives, which enables the safe landing of the volocopter even if some drives fail.
When the Volocopter VC200 is completed, it will be able to fly at 6,500ft for up to an hour weighing a maximum of 450kg including crew and kit, about half the weight of a Nissan Micra.Anyone with a private pilot’s licence in Germany will be able to fly the revolutionary aircraft once it hits the mass market.Its inventors claim it is also simpler to fly than a traditional helicopter, with just one joystick controlling almost every aspect of flight.The project has been handed a provisional airworthiness certificate and its inventors hope it will get the sign-off from aviation authorities in the near future.
Desired aircraft performance
• cruising speed of at least 54 kn (100 km/h)
• flight altitude of up to 6500 ft
• maximum take-off weight of 450 kg
• more than one hour flight time
• two persons side-by-side