Thursday, June 20, 2013




Yes, I am keenly interested in both rotary aircraft and in small plane development. I also believe that such aircraft will soon be powered by some hybrid-electric combination—and that electrically powered aircraft will become viable when batteries improve.

The Volocopter has appeared sooner than I expected—and, believe it or not, it has actually flown. Whether it will be viable or not is still an open question, but let me cheer it on. Anything this crazy has to be supported.

Let me quote from the web site.

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.

e-volo, the Karlsruhe-based company, made global aviation history last year by successfully operating the world’s first manned flight by means of a purely electronically powered, vertical take-off Volocopter, the VC1. 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.

According to Alexander Zosel, e-volo manager, 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 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 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 license  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.

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