Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Wildest Ride And It's All Electric

After over a year of work on the development of the VC1, the e-volo team achieved their goal on the 21st October 2011: The first manned flight world-wide with a purely electrically powered, vertical take-off and landing Volocopter succeeded. The invention of the Volocopter and the test flight with the VC1 have been celebrated globally in over 200 television reports and countless press reports as pioneer work in aviation.

As the federal ministry of economics and technology granted 2 million € as a subsidy of the project-related costs, e-volo is working together with a research and industry syndicate to build the VC200, the first Volocopter in the world to carry two people.

The Volocopter is an absolutely novel aircraft which cannot be assigned to any existing aviation category.

The greatest challenge after technical realisation is to be able to place such an aircraft on the market. As the Volocopter is the first of its kind, an official basis needs to be created in the first step to allow for air traffic participation.

The innovative concept of an electrical vertical take-off aircraft convinced the supreme authority for aviation in Germany, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) to such an extent that it has commissioned a two to three year trial programme for the creation of a new category in aviation.



The relevant organizations, namely the German Ultralight Aircraft Association (DULV), the German Sports Aircraft Association (DAeC) and the German Federal Aviation Office (LBA) will work together with the project team of e-volo on the creation of a new manufacturing specification for the Volocopter, including legal regulations (where and when the Volocopter has permission to fly), and the training specifications for future pilots of the Volocopter.
  
In the course of the trial programme, the Volocopter will be granted a provisional airworthiness certificate after having undergone extensive endurance testing of the passenger cabin, the landing framework and the rotor array. The goal is to achieve this by mid 2013 in order to be able to begin with test flights for the trial programme as soon as possible. The test flights will take place on the glider airfield in Bruchsal, where the factory of the DG Flugzeugbau (DG Aircraft Construction) is located. DG Aircraft Construction handles the production of the mechanical bodywork of the VC200 in the carbon lightweight mode of construction.

At the end of the trial programme, a prototype certification of the VC200 in line with the newly created category of ultralight rotor aircraft named Volocopter will enable the future serial production.

Consequently, in Germany people with a private pilot licence will be able to fly e-volo’s Volocopter in the near future.

Currently, the limiting factor is the energy capacity of available batteries. However, a considerable advancement in battery technology is conceivable during the next few years, so that a multiplication of the energy capacity will occur within a short period of time. At present a battery flight time of 20 minutes is possible, but in the near future this will be extended to one hour or more.

To enable a flight time of several hours right from the start, our two-seater Volocopter is being developed as a serial hybrid electrical aircraft with a range extender.

A range extender is an additional aggregate in an electrical vehicle which extends the range of the vehicle considerably. The most commonly used range extenders are combustion motors which power a generator that supplies the batteries and electrical engines with electricity. Range extenders run at a constant rotation speed with optimal efficiency.
Background: regarding ultralight aircraft

In Europe, ultralight aircraft are defined as very lightweight motor-powered aircraft carrying up to two people. Internationally, there are several ultralight aircraft categories with country-specific certification regulations.

In order to fly ultralight aircraft in Germany, a private pilot license is required. This licence varies depending on the different categories. According to national law, the various different categories of aerial sports equipment are put under the umbrella definition of ultralight aircraft. The maximum takeoff mass of ultralight two-seater aircraft may not exceed 450 kg in Europe.

How It Is Controlled

The controls work according to the fly-by-wire principle very easily by means of a joystick. As opposed to any other aircraft, the operation is child’s play. It takes off and lands vertically and the pilot pays little or no attention to the flight path angle, minimum speed, stall, mixture control, pitch adjustment and many other things which make conventional aviation so demanding.

The propellers generate the entire ascending force, and by means of a selective change in rotary speed they simultaneously take care of the steering. Furthermore, as opposed to helicopters, no mechanical pitch control of the propellers is necessary whatsoever.

The automatic position control and the directional control take place by means of several independent and mutually monitoring airborne computers which control the rotation speed of each drive separately.

An optional, additional pusher propeller enables an even faster flight.

Volocopter VC200 

The first flight of the e-volo Volocopter VC200 in Karlsruhe on November 17, 2013, took place with support by the Ascending Technologies GmbH. Thereby, the Volocopter project profited from the expertise of the long-standing technology leader in unmanned aircrafts (UAV). Ascending Technologies from Krailling near Munich is the creator and inventor of micro UAVs for professional use. 

With more than 1000 sold multicopters worldwide, the company is a unique source of experience. 


In combination with a high level of in-house manufacturing and pioneer work in sensor data processing and flight attitude stabilization, Ascending Technologies is a valuable partner for e-volo. 


Simultaneously, participation in this project and continued development of the Volocopter poses a new and welcome challenge to the company.  



The VC200 will be granted a provisional airworthiness certificate after having undergone extensive endurance testing of the passenger cabin, the landing framework and the rotor array. The goal is to achieve this by mid 2013 in order to be able to begin with test flights for the trial programme as soon as possible.

The test flights will take place on the glider airfield in Bruchsal, where the factory of the DG  lugzeugbau (DG Aircraft Construction) is located.
DG Flugzeugbau handles the production of the mechanical bodywork of the VC200 in
the carbon lightweight mode of construction.

At the end of the trial programme, a prototype certification of the VC200 in line with the newly created category of ultralight rotor aircraft named Volocopter will enable the future serial production.
Consequently, in Germany people with a private pilot licence will be able to fly e-volo’s Volocopter in the near future.

The aim for the VC200 is a two-seater volocopter with the following aircraft performance:
  • a cruising speed of at least 54 kn (100 km/h)
  • a flight altitude of up to 6500 ft
  • a maximum take-off weight of 450 kg
  • more than one hour flight time

No comments:

Post a Comment