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FlyNow Aviation eCopter (proof-of-concept)

FlyNow Aviation eCopter electric helicopter proof-of-concept rotorcraft


eCopter (proof-of-concept)
FlyNow Aviation GmbH
Salzburg, Austria

FlyNow Aviation GmbH was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in Salzburg, Austria. The company is in the business of designing and manufacturing automatic (or autopiloted) passenger and air cargo long-range electric helicopters or electric vertical and takeoff and landing (eVTOL) rotorcraft for advanced air mobility (AAM). Automatic flying means the aircraft has a predetermined flight plan and flies along a fixed route. The original name of the helicopter was called the FlyNow PAV (personal air vehicle). (Image credit: FlyNow Aviation)

The company cites the coaxial counter-rotating Kamov helicopter, manufactured by Russian Helicopters, with the advantages of coaxial counter-rotating rotorblades brings to the aircraft is what FlyNow Aviation is looking for. When designing an electric helicopter, complexity can be reduced by using electric motors, using batteries as a power source and using fixed pitched rotorblades. FlyNow Aviation has stated that a fixed pitch rotorblade system will achieve higher velocities while maintaining passenger comfort.

FlyNow PAV (personal air vehicle) changes the name of their family of helicopters to eCopter
Eventually, the company revealed the names of their models will be called eCopters and each passenger and air cargo model will have a different designation. As of 2024, the names of their aircraft are expected to be designated like this:

  • eCopter P1B (1 passenger, battery electric power source)
  • eCopter P2B (2 passengers, battery electric power source)
  • eCopter C200B (air cargo drone) (Cargo, maximum payload weight 200 kg [441 lb], battery electric power source)
  • eCopter P1H (1 passenger, hydrogen fuel cell power source)
  • eCopter P2H (2 passengers, hydrogen fuel cell power source)
  • eCopter C200H (air cargo drone) (Cargo, maximum payload weight 200 kg [441 lb], hydrogen fuel cell power source)

The FlyNow's website states their motto is “intelligent simplicity” instead of “stupid complexity.” The company states their eCopters consist of just a few core subsystems: rotors, cabin, batteries and electric motors. They have developed a compact design without many connecting parts that could bend or break. And the company states because their helicopters are particularly lightweight, they need less material and can get by with smaller batteries. The company explains these low costs will in turn enable low prices for end customers.

eCopter passenger electric helicopters (eVTOL) proof-of-concept rotorcraft
In February 2024, FlyNow Aviation revealed they have made and started flight testing two eCopter passenger electric helicopters (eVTOL) proof-of-concept rotorcraft in the summer of 2023. The proof-of-concept helicopters demonstrated the mechanical, electrical, acoustic and systemic performance of the eCopter and validated the simulation results. The team is now working on the series development, which will incorporate the feedback and improvements from the testing phase. The company has not released any flight specifications for either proof-of-concept helicopter.

The company takes the prototype's performance data and inputs this into their simulation software which simulates both hardware and software and it can confirm the aerodynamic performance from the half-scale model. The simulator enables FlyNow Aviation to virtually fly millions of flight hours to test every system on the helicopter. It was in 2021, the company began performing indoor testing with a half-scale prototype to evaluate automatic flight modes and stability of the control logic.

The helicopter uses two fixed pitched axial rotorblades, four electric motors and will use Lithium-ion batteries to power the aircraft. Future models will use a hydrogen-electric power source. The fuselage is made from carbon fiber composite material for a high strength low weight ratio. The aircraft has fixed skid landing gear.

The production helicopter will hold one passenger, their luggage and will fly predetermined routes using autopilot technology. The company calls their autopilot technology, automatic flying. Quoting the company's website, "Automatic flying means that the aircraft flies along a fixed route and its respective flight path follows a flight plan." FlyNow Aviation predicts that autonomous piloting will not be available for aircraft for years, if not decades.

Five Core Unique Selling Propositions Of FlyNow Aviation

  • Low Cost: 10 times lower production costs compared to market competition
  • High Energy Efficiency: Unmatched flight time and range
  • Low Noise Emission Levels: High social acceptance and great inflight experience
  • Great Operability: Profitable operation of large fleets and great customer experience
  • Certification Readiness: Fast time to market in a multitude of jurisdictions

The company has revealed their marketing research has determined that one passenger aircraft will the typically customer for advanced air mobility air taxi service and thus the biggest potential for the most rapid market penetration and growth is low acquisition and operating cost of a small one person aircraft.

The company plans to make a one passenger, two passenger and an air cargo helicopter model. The air cargo helicopter is planned to carry a standard European sized pallet (800 × 1,200 mm) up to 1 meter in height and has a maximum payload weight of 200 kg (441 lb).

Why coaxial rotor design?
The company has stated that one of the main challenges of eVTOL aircraft is the low energy density of batteries which limits the range and endurance of the flights. Therefore, the drive train efficiency is key for the successful implementation of eVTOL aircraft. One of the factors that affect the efficiency is the rotor disk loading which is the ratio of the weight of the aircraft to the area of the rotor disk. The lower the rotor disk loading, the more efficient the aircraft.

The coaxial rotor design has a lower rotor disk loading than a quadcopter-like design because it uses two rotors stacked on top of each other instead of four rotors spread around the body. This means that the coaxial rotor design can generate more lift with less power and also reduce the noise and vibration. The coaxial rotor design is so efficient NASA chose it for its Mars helicopter Ingenuity".

Fixed pitched rotorblades cannot maneuver a helicopter in the traditional fashion. However, using an all electric powertrain allows each rotorblade to change its RPM for directional control. Also, the entire rotor assembly can be tilted allowing thrust vectoring to control the aircraft. This design greatly simplifies the mechanical assembly compared to a traditional rotor hub and swashplate found on a traditional helicopter.

While fixed pitched rotorblades cannot autorotate, the company has achieved a high level of safety with the helicopter by using the redundancy of eight electric motors to power the aircraft. If one or several electric motors fail, the helicopter can still land safely.

Focus on safety
All critical systems of the helicopters have full redundancy. Each rotor is driven by four electric independent motors. If one of the motors fail, the remainder three will continue powering the coaxial rotorblades without any change to flight behavior. The helicopters are protected against collisions with other helicopters or aircraft. For example, if the helicopter's flight path is in the way of a rescue helicopter, the eCopter will stop in mid-air and hover until the rescue helicopter flies past. There is also a sensor that detected birds and can fly in an evasive maneuver to avoid birds.

The big advantage
The company has stated they have a big advantage of coming first to the market over new multicopter aircraft. FlyNow Aviation will be able to use existing regulations for certification of their rotorcraft which means the eCopter can be certified faster and cheaper than all other eVTOL designs.

The company foresees their helicopters to be used for air taxi service, air cargo service, ship-to-shore transportation and for transportation to remote locations. The company plans to start commercial operations of its cargo helicopter in 2026. After the successful roll out and operations of the air cargo helicopters, they will then manufacture and sell the passenger version.


  • Aircraft type: Electric helicopter air taxi
  • Piloting: Unknown
  • Capacity: 1 person plus luggage
  • Crusie speed: Unknown
  • Rotorblades: Two coaxial rotor blades
  • Electric Motors: 4 electric motors
  • Power source: Lithium-ion batteries
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
  • Windows: Large vertical front window allowing forward, left, right, up and down views
  • Landing gear: Fixed skid landing gear
  • Safety feature: The helicopter uses the redundancy of four electric motors, so if one or two fail, it can still safely land. The helicopter will also have collision avoidance systems on board. All critical systems of the helicopter are redundant.

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