Since 2013, the German Ultralight Flight Association has been testing the Volocopter on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. In February, the Association granted Karlsruher e-volo GmbH a provisional certificate for its VC200 as an ultralight aircraft (certificate number (VVZ) (D-MYVC). e-volo aims to have its Volocopter certified as an ultralight prototype and, hence, pave way for series production of the 2-seater. The completely new, vertical takeoff aircraft is extremely easy to fly, quiet, and emission-free. A comprehensive redundancy concept in all its electronic components ensures its safe landing, even if one or more drives were to fail. The Volocopter is controlled with one hand using a joystick. The zero emissions have been made possible by its all-electric drives and rechargeable batteries that can be swapped very quickly and easily.
Unmanned test flights prior to the certification:
The certified VC200 can also be operated remotely for unmanned test flights. This reduces the usual “launch risk” of a new aircraft. The e-volo team conducted more than 100 unmanned test flights as part of the preparation to have the VC200 certified for unmanned flights. With professional remote control, the team was able to conduct stress tests on the entire system, its different modules, and the individual components. For instance, they would switch off motors, disconnect some of the batteries or flight control electronics, etc. They also fed wrong information, e.g., with “defective” sensors into the aircraft’s control system. In addition, unmanned test flights were also conducted under turbulent weather conditions. The e-volo team, together with Jörg Seewald, the association’s representative for the test program, were extremely impressed by the way the VC200 was able to stabilize itself in adverse weather conditions as well as compensate for the loss of rotors without any intervention from the pilot.
Manned test flights:
The manned test flights are planned in three phases. In the first phase, the test flights will be at low altitudes and restricted to a maximum flight speed of 25 km/h. In the second phase, the emphasis will be on flight maneuvers with a flight speed of up to 50 km/h at an average altitude. The third phase is aimed to validate the system at higher altitudes and in the full speed range of the VC200 (up to 100 km/h).
Videos of the test flights are available at www.volocopter.com or on YouTube
Picture © e-volo, by Nikolay Kazakov
Source e-volo GmbH