Volocopter GmbH was founded in 2011 in Karlsruhe, Germany, by Alexander Zosel and Stephen Wolf with the intent of making an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) multicopter aircraft for fast and efficient advanced air mobility (AAM). Advanced air mobility has also been called urban air travel. On Oct. 21, 2011, the company made history by making the first crewed flight in the world of a multicopter, named the VC1. The multicopter was flown in southwest Germany by co-founder, primary designer, inventor and builder, Thomas Senkel. The Guinness Book of World Records has the historic flight listed on their website. The company was originally known as "e-volo GmbH" until being renamed to "Volocopter GmbH" in July 2017 and the company is now based in Bruchsal, Germany.
In 2015, Volocopter received the “Climate Champion COP21” award at the Paris Climate Conference (held 30 November - 11 December 2015) in Paris, France, for the Volocopter. Also in 2015, the company stated the Volocopter is being designed to be flown with the option of being piloted drone, remotely, or autonomously, for passenger aircraft. For cargo aircraft, the Volocopters are being designed to be flown remotely or autonomously. The Volocopter is simple, safe and green.
Volocopter 2X two passenger eVTOL multicopter full scale prototype aircraft
The Volocopter 2X is a two passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) multicopter full scale prototype aircraft that is a refined version of the VC200 eVTOL multicopter aircraft. The 2X can be flown by a pilot or autonomous piloting. The 2X is quieter than the smallest helicopter by a factor of seven.
The cruise speed of the aircraft is 102 km/h (63 mph), has a range of 27 km (17 m) and has a flight time of 27 minutes. The empty weight of the aircraft is 290 kg (640 lb), the maximum payload for the aircraft is 160 kg (350 lb) and the maximum takeoff weight for the multicopter is 450 kg (990 lb). The 2X has 18 propellers, 18 electric motors and is powered by nine batteries.
The propeller assembly frame has six Y shaped struts emanating from its central axle. The intersection of each Y has a vertical non-tilting propeller and 12 more are at the ends of the struts which is reinforced with a perimeter ring. These 18 propellers and 3-phase PM synchronous brushless DC electric motors are powered by nine batteries. The size of the aircraft is 10.5 feet (3.2 m) long, 7 feet (2.15 m) high and has a tip-to-tip distance of 30 feet (9.15 m).
Autonomous flight is possible for the Volocopter 2X. The aircraft has a single joystick and was designed to be intuitive to fly. If the joystick is released an automatic systems keeps the aircraft in a stable position. Systems include a redundant avionic systems, a redundant propulsion system, a fiber optic fly-by-wire and an emergency ballistic parachute. The 2X is designed for urban mobility and Volocopter envisions units being reserved through the use of an app.
On November 17, 2013, the first uncrewed flight took place indoors in an arena in Karlsruhe, Germany. According to the company the world's first autonomous air taxi flight was over Dubai on September 25, 2017. The first autonomous flight for the Volocopter 2X aircraft that was fully integrated into the air traffic management (ATM) system and the unmanned aircraft traffic management (UTM) system took place on August 29, 2019 Finland’s Helsinki International Airport. On Sept. 14–15, 2019, more than 12,000 spectators saw the flights of the Volocopter 2X unmanned air taxi at the Mercedes- Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
Volocopter 2X's first public and uncrewed flight in France took place on June 21, 2021. The first crewed flight in the USA took place on July 27, 2021 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. On March 21, 2022 the first crewed 2X eVTOL test flight took place at the Pontoise Airfield in France. The first crewed flight of the Volocopter 2X eVTOL passenger aircraft in New York City, USA, took place on November 13, 2023.
In 2016, it was the first multicopter given crewed flight certification. At the time, Volocopter will be manufacturing the aircraft, running the air taxi service, building Voloports, allow passengers to request a flight through an app, will not be selling their aircraft to individuals and will offer air taxi urban travel at competitive prices. The program is supported by Intel’s Ascending Technologies, Daimler AG, DG Flugzeugbau GmbH and others. Volocopter announced in February 2020 that it had raised a total of €122 million (approx. $145M USD) since inception.
Volocopter stated in November 2019 that the VC1, VC2, VC200 and 2X prototypes have collectively made over 1,000 test flights, taking place in Dubai, France, Germany, Singapore and the USA.
First crewed flight of Volocopter 2X eVTOL passenger aircraft in New York City, November 13, 2023
The first crewed flight of the Volocopter 2X eVTOL passenger aircraft in New York City took place on Monday, November 13, 2023. The exhibition flight took off from the downtown heliport in Manhattan marking the second ever eVTOL flight in the city. Volocopter has now successfully flown exhibition flights in the two of the busiest metropolitan hubs of the world, Singapore and New York City. Volocopter has also flown its 2X aircraft in the US cities of Las Vegas, Dallas-Fort Worth and Tampa. Mayor Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City, stated it was the intention of the city to electrify the heliport and for the city to be a global leader of clean and quiet air taxi flight.
Specifications (April 2017):
- Aircraft type: Passenger eVTOL multicopter aircraft
- First flight (uncrewed): September 2017
- First flight (crewed): January 2018
- Piloting: 1 pilot or autonomous
- Capacity: 2 passengers total (if there is a pilot, 1 pilot and 1 passenger)
- Cruise speed: 102 km/h (63 mph)
- Range: 27 km (17 m)
- Flight Time: 27 minutes
- Empty weight: 290 kg (640 lb)
- Maximum payload: 160 kg (350 lb)
- Maximum gross weight: 450 kg (990 lb)
- Propellers: 18 propellers
- Electric Motors: 18 electric motors, 3-phase PM synchronous motor, brushless DC electric motor (BLDC)
- Power source: 9 batteries
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Fuselage length: 3.2 m (10.5 ft)
- Overall height: 2.15 m (7 ft)
- Tip-to-tip distance: 9.15 m (30 ft)
- Windows: Large windows for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
- Landing gear: Fixed skid landing gear
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft.
- Volocopter website
- Volocopter Facebook
- Volocopter X (formerly Twitter)
- Volocopter YouTube Channel
- Volocopter Instagram
- Volocopter LinkedIn
- Volocopter WeChat
- Volocopter Wikipedia
- Video: World's first manned flight with an electric multicopter, Forschungsbuero, Oct. 28, 2011
- Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, Vertiflite, January/February 2017
- Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, March/April 2017
- Article: e-volo unveils volocopter 2X, the 18 rotor flying taxi set for use in 2018, Design Boom, Apr. 5, 2017
- Article: e-volo’s 2X Ready for Production, eVTOL News, May 2, 2017
- Video: Dubai's flying taxi – the volocopter – takes first flight, Esquire, Sept. 25, 2017
- Article: Volocopter performs first ever urban air taxi test, Aerospace Testing International, Sept. 27, 2017
- Video: The Volocopter 2X. Mobility in the next dimension, Volocopter, Oct. 16, 2017
- Video: Volocopter’s flying taxi takes off at CES, The Verge, Jan. 8, 2018
- Video: 2018 CES: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Takes a Volocopter Test, Intel Newsroom, Jan.8, 2018
- Article: Remote-piloted Volocopter eVTOL Flies Intel CEO, AIN Online, Jan. 9, 2018
- Article: Volocopter’s fully-electric autonomous manned multicopter is ridiculously cool, TNW, Jan. 9, 2018
- Article: Volocopter presents air taxi services at scale, Volocopter, Apr. 17, 2018
- Article: Mobility of the Future: Fraport and Volocopter Are Developing Airport Infrastructure and Passenger Processes for Air Taxi Services, Volocopter, Feb. 12, 2019
- White Paper: Pioneering The Urban Air Taxi Revolution, 1.0, Volocopter, June 6, 2019
- Article: Volocopter Unveils VoloCity, Its First Production eVTOL, Aviation International News Online, Aug. 21, 2019
- Article: Volocopter reveals design for new Urban Air Mobility aircraft Volocity to become first commercial Volocopter aircraft, Volocopter, Aug. 21, 2019
- Article: Successful integration of piloted air taxi into Air Traffic Management / UTM system, Volocopter, Aug. 30, 2019
- Article: Volocopter eVTOL Flies Autonomously at Intl. Airport, Aviation International News Online, Aug. 30, 2019
- Article: Stuttgart see first urban flight of Volocopter in Europe, Volocopter, Sept. 9, 2019
- Article: World’s First Full-Scale Air Taxi VoloPort Unveiled in Singapore, Volocopter, Oct. 21, 2019
- Article: DB Schenker invests as Volocopter extends Series C Round to € 87 million, Volocopter, Feb. 21, 2020
- Video: Volocopter 2X manned flight at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021, New Atlas, July 27, 2021
- Article: Volocopter performs its first crewed public eVTOL flight in the US, New Atlas, July 27, 2021
- Article: Volocopter Just Completed the First Crewed eVTOL Flight in the US, Robb Report, Aug. 2, 2021
- Article: Volocopter Conducts First Crewed eVTOL Flight in France, Volocopter, Mar. 24, 2022
- Article: Italy’s first vertiport deployed at Fiumicino Airport, Vertical Magazine, Oct. 6, 2022
- Article: A Complete Guide to Certification (VoloCity Air Taxi Edition), Volocopter, Dec. 7, 2022
- Article: Volocopter, NEOM complete electric air taxi flight in Saudi Arabia, Vertical Magazine, June 21, 2023
- Article: Safran to supply electric powertrain for Volocopter’s eVTOL aircraft, Vertical Magazine, June 22, 2023
- Article: Volocopter Makes the Case For eVTOL Air Services With Roadshow In U.S. Market, FutureFlight, Nov. 3, 2023
- Article: Volocopter Dazzles with First Flight in New York City, Volocopter, Nov. 12, 2023
- Article: Electric Air Taxis Take Flight in New York City, Future Flight, Nov. 13, 2023
- Article: Volocopter completes its first flight in New York City, Vertical Magazine, Nov. 14, 2023
- Article: Five Key Insights from Volocopter's In-House Experts on Decarbonization, Electric Aviation, and Volocopter, Volocopter, Nov. 19, 2023