Grafschaft, Rhineland-Plantine, Germany
In 2018, Thomas Senkel and Michael Kügelgen (pilot and engineer) founded eMagic Aircraft company to manufacture and produce electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft for urban air mobility (UAM). (Thomas Senkel is the designer and pilot of the first manned multicopter in Germany under the company e-volo GmbH. The company e-volo was eventually rebranded as Volocopter and Senkel left Volocopter in 2016.) eMagic Aircraft has financed the demonstrator aircraft using their own money. eMagic is currently seeking investors to develop a serial production aircraft.
The company is now working on a new tandem wing eVTOL proof-of-concept demonstrator, called eMagic One, which was recently flown in a flight demonstration. Kügelgen is the inventor of eVTOL aircraft, Senkel is in charge of the electric drive train of the aircraft and Moritz Pfletschinger is in charge of software development and flight controller optimization. The company is supported by a network of friends including Matthias Strieker (Silence Aircraft GmbH), Thomas Strieker (Leviora Leichtbaumanufaktur), Richard Krüger-Sprengel (Helix Carbon GmbH), Hans-Joachim Droste (Droste Ingenieure GmbH) and more.
Senkel has stated in several news articles that he's never been satisfied with the range of multicopters which is why he wanted to manufacture an original eVTOL passenger aircraft that had a useful range. He has also stated that a piloted air taxi which only holds two passengers seems to be a niche market but it's also true that most regular ground taxi rides take one passenger at a time. Senkel has stated their winged VTOL aircraft will have a range five times longer than a multicopter eVTOL passenger aircraft.
Kügelgen founded MK Technology in Germany in 1997 and is an accomplished rapid prototyping and production company. Kügelgen is a mechanical engineer and has been pilot for 45 years and is certified to fly in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He has developed numerous crewed and uncrewed flight systems. He is the inventor of the sub-scale eMagic prototypes, the full-scale Copter and the full-scale eMagic One passenger eVTOL demonstrator, all of which have been aerodynamically successful and flight worthy.
The eMagic One eVTOL demonstrator aircraft holds one passenger, has one front propeller for forward flight, has eight fixed propellers dedicated for VTOL flight, has tandem wings, a vertical rear stabilizer and tricycle taildragger wheeled landing gear arrangement. The aircraft can be completely disassembled for ease of transporting the aircraft by truck and trailer.
The aircraft has been designed from scratch and has excellent flight characteristics. All components including the electric drives, batteries and control systems are designed to be fully optimized. The airframe is extremely light at 255 kg (562 lbs) maximizing the flight range of the aircraft.
Some Safety Features Of The Aircraft
- The aircraft has Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) which provides safety through redundancy for its passengers. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers or motors fail, the other working propellers and motors can safely land the aircraft.
- The aircraft has redundant on-board systems
- The aircraft can takeoff and land conventionally without the use of its VTOL propellers
- The aircraft has a kevlar honeycomb sandwich monocoque structure around the pilot providing excellent crash protection.
- The aircraft has a tandem wing configuration because it's impossible to stall the aircraft. When the stick is pulled, the aircraft goes into a higher sink rate but the aircraft remains controllable the entire time. This type of control is extremely important when transitioning between flight modes, from vertical flight to forward flight and vice versa.
- The aircraft comes equipped with a whole aircraft ballistic parachute.
The aircraft has high performance propellers which are optimized for cruise flight and for hovering. Their custom designed propellers are thin-bladed, have been certified and have patents pending. In addition, all the unique features on the aircraft are protected by patents and registered trade marks.
First Flight Timeline:
- 3 April 2019: 26.3%-scale eMagic One remote-controlled first flight (eMagic Aircraft calls it 1/3.8-scale)
- 10 May 2019: 26.3%-scale eMagic Copter remote-controlled first flight (eMagic Aircraft calls it 1/3.8-scale)
- 28 May 2019: 26.3%-scale eMagic One first transition flight (eMagic Aircraft calls it 1/3.8-scale)
- 4 March 2020: 1/2-scale eMagic One remote-controlled first flight
- 30 July 2020: Full-scale eMagic Copter remote-controlled first hover flight
- 21 May 2021: Full-scale Magic One crewed first roll test
- 31 May 2021: Full-scale eMagic One crewed maiden flight
- 24 October 2021: Full-scale eMagic Copter crewed first hover flight
- 5 November 2021: Full-scale eMagic One uncrewed first hover flight
- Spring 2022: Full-scale eMagic One crewed first hover with transition flights
eMagic One's crewed maiden test flight was on May 31, 2021. The company has stated there have been hundreds of test flights with sub-scale prototypes flown remotely, a full scale open truss multicopter flown remotely and piloted, and finally, the eMagic One demonstrator has been flown remotely and piloted. All of these test flights have been 100% successful. eMagic One was unveiled at EUROPEAN ROTORS that took place Cologne, Germany, Nov. 16-18, 2021. The Vertical Flight Society has over 100 images from the event online here.
The next step for the company is to develop a serial production aircraft and incorporating all the lessons learned from the flight demonstrators. The production aircraft will hold either three or four people, this is still under discussion as of late November 2021. eMagic Aircraft has stated that a three passenger eVTOL aircraft is probably the best number of passengers for an air taxi aircraft to hold. The company has not stated any estimated timeline for making their full scale production aircraft and when they expect sales to occur.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger aircraft
- Piloting: Pilot, autopilot for hovering
- Capacity: 1 passenger
- Cruise speed: 144 km/h (89 mph)
- Maximum speed: 170 km/h (105 mph)
- Range: Unknown
- Flight time: Up to 60 minutes
- Hover flight time: Up to 4 minutes
- Cruise altitude: Unknown
- Maximum takeoff weight: 420 kg (882 lb)
- Maximum payload: 165 kg (320 lb)
- Empty weight: 255 kg (562 lb)
- Propellers: 9 propellers (1 front propeller for forward flight, 8 VTOL fixed propellers for hover and VTOL flight)
- Electric Motors: 9 electric motors. 1 electric motor in tractor configuration for cruise flight, 8 electric motors for hover flight.
- Power source: There are two independent battery packs. One battery pack is optimized for long endurance cruise flight, the other battery pack is optimized for peak power during hover and VTOL flight.
- Pilot fuselage area: Kevlar honeycomb sandwich structure
- Windows: Canopy over cockpit
- Wings: Tandem wings with spades and elevons
- Tail: Vertical stabilizer
- Landing gear: Fixed wheeled tail dragger shock absorbing carbon landing gear
- Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. The aircraft can also takeoff and land conventionally without the use of its VTOL propellers. The aircraft can't be stalled due to its tandem wing configuration. The aircraft has a kevlar honeycomb sandwich monocoque structure around the pilot providing excellent crash protection. The aircraft has a whole aircraft ballistic parachute system.
- eMagic Aircraft website
- MK Technology GmbH website
- Video: 10 Years: Worlds First Manned Multicopter (Unrevealed Footage), Forschungsbuero, Oct. 27, 2021
- Video: eMagic Copter 2021, Forschungsbuero, Oct. 28, 2021
- Article: eVTOL pioneer Thomas Senkel unveils tandem-wing air taxi prototype, New Atlas, Nov. 16, 2021
- Video: eMagic One - An eVTOL that really works, Forschungsbuero, Nov. 16, 2021
- Article: A New Tandem-Winged eVTOL Prototype Has Five Times the Range of Rivals, Interesting Engineering, Nov. 17, 2021
- Article: First man ever to fly a manned e-multicopter presents new eVTOL concept that really works, Autoevolution, Nov. 17, 2021
- Article: Thomas Senkel unveils tandem-wing air taxi prototype, Air Med and Rescue, Nov. 19, 2021
- Article: eMagic takes the wraps off its proof of concept eVTOL, eVTOL.com, Nov. 24, 2021
- Article: eMagic One Silently Comes Out of Stealth, Vertiflite, Jan/Dec 2022