But what is a multicopter?
The e-volo multicopter is an innovative, vertically starting, human carrying transportation device. The aircraft’s sixteen electric motor powered propellers allow it to take off and land similar to a helicopter, but unlike the rotor of a helicopter, the propellers don’t have any pitch control and therefore no wear. These factors make the multicopter mechanically simple, with a minimal maintenance requirement.
Attitude and directional control are taken care of automatically by multiple separate and mutually monitoring onboard computers, controlling the engines with the precise rotation speed. A simple joystick allows the pilot to control the aircraft via a fly-by-wire system. Whether during vertical takeoff, in flight, or landing, the pilot has to pay little attention to minimum speed, stall, or pitch control, they are all taken care of by the computers.
Flight time is currently between ten and thirty minutes, depending on the payload and the capacity of the lithium batteries, and with an empty weight at 80 kg (including batteries), e-volo can be categorised as an ultralight in many countries.
e-volo’s future objectives include extending flight time with advancements in battery technology or possibly a ‘hybrid’ with an internal combustion engine, and multi seats and/or payload. Though its initial forte will probably be as a recreational vehicle, the company says in the future it could have serious commercial applications, undertaking some tasks currently carried out by the more complex, more expensive, and more demanding to fly helicopter.