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Future Flight: Volocopter Future Flight: Volocopter

Rotors galore, and an underslung pax pod

It probably has the most unusual appearance of any of the eVTOL designs out there, which is saying a lot. But the all-composite VC200 Volocopter, powered by 18 small electric motors—each one driving its own rotor—has been around since 2011, when unmanned versions began flight tests. So, it’s an eVTOL pioneer.
Pilot Briefing November 2020

By moving its single-joystick flight control, you can control the differential speeds of the motors and their rotors, creating movements in roll, pitch, and yaw. A multi-redundant flight control system, connected by fiber-optic cables, consists of more than 100 microprocessors, plus independent units with positioning sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and magnetometers for all three axes of flight.

Should any of the rotor units fail, Volocopter says that others will compensate. Those 18 rotor units are driven by nine rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which Volocopter says can be swapped out for freshly charged batteries in five minutes.

The company says that commercial flights of the Volocopter will begin in 2022. The idea is to provide inter-city and airport shuttle flights for up to two passengers and hand luggage. So far, there have been demonstration flights in Singapore and Dubai. When the aircraft becomes operational passengers will use a Volocopter app to book flights out of strategically located VoloPorts.

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Thomas A. Horne

Thomas A. Horne

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.

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