Small and very lightweight helicopters have been around for decades for enthusiasts to enjoy just for fun. A company called e-volo has been working on something it calls a multicopter that looks more like a giant multirotor drone aircraft than a machine designed to carry human occupants. The flying machine is called the Volocopter VC200 and e-volo has announced that it has conducted its first manned flight.
The VC200 is an electric flying machine that has no emissions and is said to be “impressively quiet.” The company hopes that the small flying machine will eventually be usable as a new type of urban transportation. The VC200 can be used in conventional aircraft domains as well. German aviation authorities issued the VC200 a permit to fly in February 2016.
The first official manned flight for the aircraft was made by e-volo managing director Alexander Zosel on March 30, 2016 at an airfield in Germany. The aircraft uses a special flight control system that makes it very easy to fly and like a normal helicopter, it has vertical takeoff and landing capability. The machine is designed to be flown one-handed and has redundancy allowing it to survive the loss of multiple electric motors without crashing.
The next goal of the company is to receive a type certification to produce the Volocopter in large quantities. The company is looking to enter the machine into the air sports market in the next two years. After entering that market, the company sees the Volocopter flying airport shuttle routes. During the first manned flight, the VC200 operated at a speed of 25 km/h at low altitudes. The next test phase will see the aircraft maneuver at 50 km/h at medium altitude. The third test phase will see the aircraft operate at higher altitudes and up to 100 km/h speeds.