World's first 'green helicopter' takes maiden flight

The Volocopter VC200 is a quiet, battery-powered helicopter alternative with 18 rotors that can carry two people.

(Credit: e-volo)

The Volocopter VC200 is a quiet, battery-powered helicopter alternative with 18 rotors that can carry two people.

The Volocopter V200 prototype — a "green" two-person helicopter created by German company e-volo — has completed its first successful flight. At the Dm-Arena in Karlsruhe, Germany, the 'copter completed nine remote-controlled flights lasting several minutes each, totalling 20 minutes in the air and reaching a height of nearly 22 metres, and making a number of smooth take-offs and landings.

Instead of using a fossil fuel combustion engine, the Volocopter manages to be emission-free by using 18 electric rotors, powered by batteries. This makes the craft a lot cleaner and more environmentally friendly than a helicopter — as well as quieter — and its carbon-fibre body keeps it lightweight.

(Credit: e-volo)

"Rich and incredibly quiet sound, absolutely no noticeable vibrations in the flight, convincing structure with a great, new spring strut landing gear and an extremely calm rotor plane," said e-volo managing director Alexander Zosel of the test flight. Thanks to the stability of the carbon fibre shell and 18 rotors, the Volocopter V200 showed little to no vibration.

The company hopes to market the Volocopter V200 as "the world's safest piece of air sport equipment", and already interest in the project — soon to be seeking funding on Seedmatch (German language website) — is already attracting attention. "There are already numerous requests for the Volocopter from around the world," Zosel said.

The next phase of development is a series of test flights in a variety of conditions in uninhabited areas to demonstrate the reliability of the electronic joystick-style steering and various safety features.


About the author

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.


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