E-Volo, The Two-Passenger, 18-Rotor Volocopter Takes First Flight

Helicopters are awesome.  However, they're also all sorts of complicated to build.  And while standards are in place to ensure their propelling machineries don't give out easy, a single failure can send the whole thing crashing down.  Not the case with the E-Volo VC200, an 18-rotor electric volocopter we covered initially in the design and development phase here.

Basically, it's a giant version of those quadcopter drones everyone's been playing with (vertical takeoff, vertical landing, battery powered, joystick-operated and all that).  Except, it's sized to ferry two human passengers rather than just mount a camera.  And instead of four rotors, it's got 18, making for an absolutely weird yet  compelling sight.

The E-Volo VC200 uses a straightforward mechanism for flight -- fixed pitch propellers powered by regular brushless motors.  That means, while the number of rotors makes it look elaborate, it's actually a whole lot simpler than regular helicopters and their complicated mechanics, making it easier to build, simpler to repair, and minimizing the chances things can go wrong.  Basically, less parts, less movements and less maintenance. Even better, the presence of 18 rotors means one can fail and the entire thing will still stay in the air.  In fact, up to four can fail without affecting its capacity for flight.  There's also a built-in parachute that can be deployed in the event that multiple rotors fail, requiring it to land immediately.

Recently, the team conducted the volocopter's first successful flight.  It was a modest one, though.  The vehicle was unmanned (they used a remote control) and it was flown inside a covered arena in Karlsruhe, Germany.  While that doesn't sound much (the added weight of passengers plus wind conditions can affect things adversely), it is a very encouraging milestone.

You can see the video of the flight below.

Check It Out

3 Responses

  1. John Cook

    Ahhhhh, vunderous technology. Cost only $220,000 to look awesome while enjoying a modern, high-tek, fifteen minute flight. Guaranteed to attract a capable mate. merely $4,200 to replace the batteries once a year. So useful too. Carries three six packs and a gallon of cheap wine back from den zooper merket zatz at least a block away! Has the glide angle of a cement block eff der batteries overheat at 200 feet.

    I’ll take three, if you please! Please ship by dependable electric truck to Norway. I will pay with mine kredit kard. It’s a dependable GE kredit kard…

    Reply
  2. gmn

    john cook: they don’t tried to sell you the toy, they are investigating and amusing and that’s all
    (clever and happy people, what else…)

    Reply
  3. Andy in USA

    I love what I see!

    I survived two total engine failures with successful autorotations, one night in combat with a tank full of fuel, and one in the day with a tank of fuel. Several hydraulic failures and a transmission failure on short final. I now have my own four engine drone and it’s 12 inches long. I was waiting for the day when my mini drone would grow up to see this day. I would love to see this beauty fly in person!

    The Germans have always been in the lead when the need comes to push the limit!

    I forgot to ask… how much has Norway contributed to civil or military aviation? Think now John, a long long time before answering that question.

    Having a parachute means a hell of a lot you know!

    Reply

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