It has been more than six years in the making, but a German startup will finally have the chance to test its 18-rotor commercial drone in public airways.
Designed by e-Volo, the Volocopter 2X has received approval as an ultralight aircraft and should receive ‘multicopter’ type certification in 2018 – letting it be used as flying taxis in pilot projects.
The 2X is a revamped version of the Volocopter VC200, which now boasts a sportier look, a lithium battery pack and can top speeds of 62 mph – making it more suitable for everyday use.
‘For the first time humans’ dream of personal flight as a daily routine becomes attainable,’ e-Volo stated.
‘As such it not only offers more widespread use in conventional aircraft domains, but brings us another step closer to air taxi services and entire transportation systems in the third dimension.’
Although some may questions the success of electric helicopters, e-Volo is not a rookie in the industry.
The firm conduced a private flight test on March 30th on an airfield in Southern Germany.
With passenger in tow, The Volocopter VC200 took to the skies for a three minute voyage using its 18 gently humming rotors and eco-friendly electric propulsion.
Since the craft’s last achievement, the e-Volo has been busy finalizing the craft and talking with officials about using it in commercial settings.
And the firm thought if it was upgrading the helicopter drone, it should also change its name.
Now that it has been redesigned for everyday use, Volocopter VC200 is now called Volocopter 2X.
During the revamping phase, the craft received a battery replacement of a lithium battery pack that allows for a quick swap and makes it ready for operation within a few minutes – the battery can be fully charged in about 120 minutes using a traditional power outlet.
The 2X’s body also received a makeover, as it now boasts a sportier look that includes a delicate rotor plane and a cockpit that seats to adults comfortably.
It has a maximum range of 17 miles, can reach speeds of 43 mph and its maximum flight time is 27 minutes at a cruise speed of 31 mpg, The Verge reported.
However, The Verge also noted that if flyers aren’t concerned about range, they can hit a maximum speed of 62 mph.
Although e-Volo has changed some components, the firm has kept a few features that make the aircraft really stand out from the rest.
The 2X is electric, emissions-free and easily operated by a touchscreen and a joystick control and is deemed a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
Alexander Zosel, the pilot who flew the original Volocopter in 2016, showed off these capabilities last year by taking his hand off of the joystick and giving his team on the ground two thumbs-up.
Zosel also explained that the process prior to lift-off was just as effortless.
‘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,’ he said.
‘I didn’t wait long, I simply pushed the lever upward and the Volocopter simply sprung upward in a single bound.’
With its white spiderweb design and 18 rotors humming gently, it looks like it was plucked straight from a science fiction book. ‘The aim is to change the mobility for a lot of people, not only for fun,’ Zosel said.
‘For transportation, and for getting work done.’