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Volocopter e-volo VC100 (defunct)

 

e-volo VC100 (defunct)
Volocopter GmbH
Bruschal, Germany
www.volocopter.com

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's original plan at the time was to have one, two and four seat eVTOL aircraft passenger models. In addition, the airframes for each of the passenger models would also be used as a base designs, for three different sized cargo-only eVTOL aircraft models as well. In total, they planned six Volocopter models, three passenger models and three cargo-only models.

VC100 passenger eVTOL (now defunct) concept design multicopter aircraft
The VC100 was a one passenger eVTOL and now defunct concept design multicopter aircraft. At the time of the design, the company was called e-volo hence the name e-volo VC100. According to one online news article the VC100 was a concept design before the VC200 was created. However, to date, we don't think the VC100 ever was made into a sub-scale or full scale prototype.

For pilot controls, the cockpit had a motorcycle-styled hand bar. The cockpit was an open cockpit and had a small front windscreen, had no doors and no side windows. The pilot's legs dropped over the side of the thin fuselage and both feet rested on foot rests which was fastened to the underside of the fuselage. The concept design has 18 propellers, 18 electric motors and was to be powered by batteries. This concept design shed its pusher propeller for forward flight. The multicopter aircraft had helicopter like fixed skid landing gear. All later Volocopter models (as of 2020) continue to have the skid landing gear, instead of wheeled landing gear.

One note. There is a animated video below, titled, "Mission Volocopter VC007" which Volocopter successfully used to convince their research and industrial partners of the vision of Volocopter at the start of their company in 2012. The concept shown in that video become a reality with the VC200 model. At the end of the video, it shows a single passenger Volocopter with a purple flotation device and a pusher propeller.

Several benefits of the VC100 concept design multicopter aircraft:

  • Easy to fly with a motorcycle-styled handle bars
  • Autonomous flying if one chooses, no pilot skills necessary
  • Safe to fly
  • Very efficient
  • Simple and reliable
  • Less failures than a petroleum powered aircraft
  • Less maintenance costs
  • Lower operational costs
  • Affordable and almost maintenance-free
  • Clean Aviation: No pollution, all electric
  • Much quieter than a helicopter, makes for a more pleasant ride and doesn't disturb people on the ground

In addition, in 2016, Volocopter boasted more than 100 microprocessors and other sensors. These sensors allow the aircraft to automatically read and adjust its position and altitude during normal flight, correct for pilot errors, compensate for turbulence and achieve stable flight in windy and gusty conditions, land safely even in an emergency, and take over many of the more complex steps involved in when compared to flying a helicopter.

Furthermore, since there are many small propellers (and not several large rotorblades), the cost of production, maintenance and noise goes rapidly down. At the same time, this reduces the weight of the aircraft which also increases the efficiency of the aircraft. Example, the aircraft can fly longer on less power because it is a lighter aircraft. The other advantage of small propellers and electric motors is lower noise.

In the summer of 2012, the company was planning to make the VC400 production model for sale by 2015; however, this eVTOL concept design never made it to a prototype or production model, as far as we know. The multicopters can be used for UAM, recreation, farming, search and rescue operations, cargo, air taxi service and more.

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: Passenger eVTOL concept design multicopter aircraft
  • Piloting: 1 pilot
  • Pilot control mechanism: Motorcycle-type handle bars
  • Cruise speed: Unknown
  • Flight time: Possibly 20 to 30 minutes
  • Propellers: 18 propellers
  • Electric Motors: 18 electric motors
  • Power source: Batteries
  • Cockpit: Open cockpit with no doors or side windows
  • Windows: A very small short front windscreen
  • Seating: Legs drop over the fuselage and both feet rest on foot rests, similar to riding a motorcycle
  • 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. There is also an aircraft parachute. Has automatic altitude control, automatic gentle landing, crosswinds and turbulence is automatically compensated for. Redundancy has been built into the aircraft so if one critical system breaks, there are other same exact systems so the aircraft can continue flying and safely land.

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