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Volocopter VC Evolution 2P (defunct)

 

VC Evolution 2P (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.

VC Evolution 2P passenger eVTOL multicopter concept design aircraft
The VC Evolution 2P is a two passenger eVTOL multicopter concept design aircraft made for advanced air mobility (AAM). Piloting is accomplished with one joystick and an intuitive fly-by-wire control system. The pilot and passenger sits side by side. The VC Evolution 2P was being designed so that it could be disassembled by hand and make it easy to transport using ground or air transportation.

The cabin is wider than the previous multicopter concept design aircraft since two people are sitting side by side. The cabin is reminiscent of a Kaman HH-43 Huskie helicopter. The front window is very much in the shape of the Huskie's helicopter front window. The one feature about the cabin that is not typical of aircraft is there are no doors. Each side of the fuselage has a door opening but no doors.

The anticipated cruise speed of the aircraft is 100 km/h (62 mph) and has an expected cruise altitude of 1,981 m (6,500 ft). The target maximum takeoff weight is 450 kg (992 lb) and has an estimated flight time of 20 minutes. One article stated the VC Evolution 2P had a one hour estimated flight time. The multicopter has 18 VTOL-only propellers, one rear pusher propeller and has a total of 19 electric motors. The aircraft is powered by batteries.

There is a twin tail attached to the rear of the fuselage that consists of two horizontal stabilizers and at the end of each stabilizer, there is a vertical fin. The twin tail is also a feature of the Kaman HH-43 Huskie helicopter. The aircraft has fixed skid landing gear. This aircraft can lose six propellers and can still land safely. In the summer of 2012, the company was planning to have a production model for sale by 2015; however, this concept design never made it to a prototype model, as far as we know.

Kaman HH-43B Huskie helicopter being outfitted with fire fighting equipment at the Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in Vietnam on January 1, 1968. You can see similarities between the VC Evolution 2P and the Huskie helicopter. This is a U.S. Air Force picture and has public domain status.

Kaman HH-43B Huskie helicopter being outfitted with fire fighting equipment at the Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in Vietnam on January 1, 1968. You can see similarities between the VC Evolution 2P and the Huskie helicopter. This is a U.S. Air Force picture and has public domain status.

Several benefits of the multicopter concept aircraft:

  • Easy to use with a joystick
  • Automatic flying, no pilot skills
  • Safe to fly
  • More efficient than a helicopter
  • Simple and reliable
  • Affordable and almost maintenance-free
  • Clean Aviation: No pollution, all electric
  • Much quieter than a helicopter

The advantage of this passenger eVTOL aircraft is not only being more efficient, using smaller propellers and electric motors but it is lighter than a helicopter. There are fewer mechanical parts, its a less complicated aircraft, it has more reliable components and has a quicker response time to the pilot's control input. All of reduces the weight of the aircraft and all of these things increases the efficiency of the multicopter. It can lose six propellers and the aircraft can still land to safety. The other advantage of small propellers and electric motors is lower noise. This makes the aircraft not only more affordable to fly but much safer than its petroleum fueled cousins.

For example, a helicopter has complicated gas engines, complicated transmissions, very expensive rotorblades and rotorhubs, oil, liquid fuel and tail rotor shafts, to name a few of the heavy and extra items needed for the rotorcraft to fly. This also increases the cost of the helicopter, the operating cost and the maintenance cost. With the VC Evolution 2P, you have almost none of these complicated mechanical components and no oil or liquid fuel which translates into fewer mechanical parts, a less complicated aircraft, reduced production cost, more reliable components and quicker response time to pilot control input.

Volocopter's mission and future goals
The purpose of what was then known as e-volo, was to respond to the growing urbanization of world cities and respond in kind with technological advances in connectivity, sensors, electrics/battery and drone development to help take pressure off the already crowded inner city roads by offering an alternative aerial option. And all of the early e-volo's, now Volocopter, concepts and prototypes were to have the option to be either all electric or hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft (according to a Sept. 29, 2016 presentation by e-volo GmbH at a NASA ODM Workshop in Hartford, Connecticut, USA). Fast forward several years from 2016 to now and Volocopter is only making all-electric or eVTOL aircraft.

All the Volocopter's designs were to have identical components with identical safety standards, each aircraft having 18 propellers and 18 electric motors. In 2020, Volocopter had estimated the purchase price for their passenger eVTOL aircraft to cost around €300,000.00 Euros. The company is in the business to provide emission-free, low-noise, inter-urban piloted or remote transportation and autonomous aerial mobility.

VC Evolution 2P side view

VC Evolution 2P side view

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: Passenger eVTOL multicopter concept design aircraft
  • Capacity: 1 pilot and 1 passenger
  • Control: Joystick with intuitive fly-by-wire control
  • Cruise speed: 100 km/h (62 mph)
  • Cruise altitude: 1,981 m (6,500 ft)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 450 kg (992 lb)
  • Flight time: 20 minutes (one article has a 1 hour estimated flight time)
  • Propellers for VTOL flight: 18 propellers
  • Propeller for forward flight: 1 pusher propeller
  • Electric motors: 19 electric motors
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
  • Cabin: Almost enclosed cabin without doors.
  • Windows: 1large front windshield, similar to a helicopter's large front window
  • 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. The aircraft would also have a whole aircraft parachute.

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