The e-volo multicopter is an innovative, vertically starting, human carrying transportation device that is uncatagorisable to its current flight counterparts.
The e-volos sixteen propellers allow it to take off and land similar to a helicopter. Its massive plus points compared to a helicopter are the simplicity of its engineered construction without complicated mechanics and its redundant engines. Should anything go wrong, e-volo can still safely land even if up to four of its sixteen motors should fail. Flight time can last between ten to thirty minutes, depending on the payload and the capacity of the lithium batteries. With an empty weight at 80 kg (including batteries), e-volo fits into the class of ultralights.
World’s first manned flight with an electric multicopter
At the end of October 2011, Thomas Senkel of e-volo had completed a series of unmanned tests and was ready for the first manned flight on an airstrip in the southwest of Germany. The flight lasted one minute and 30 seconds, after which the constructor and test pilot stated:
The main purpose for a single seat device would most likely be for air sports equipment and in the leisure sector. A professional application could be made in areas where helicopters are too big and expensive, for aerial photographs or field inspection of large facilities (wind turbines, pipelines), areas where its flight capabilities (vertical take off, landing, and hovering) are of crucial importance.
As a multi-seater it would also be conceivable to use for sightseeing flights, air ambulance, or air taxi.
There most certainly will be entirely new use areas that no one has yet imagined.
Vision for the future
A limiting factor is still the energy capacity of modern batteries. Longer flight times are achievable, with higher energy amounts. However during flight, less is more, as you carry the extra weight, successfully voiding the capability of extra batteries.