Friday, November 4, 2011

German whirlybird could be the family car of the future

 	E-volo electric multicopter, an ultralight helicopter. The e-volo multicopter is an innovative, vertically starting, human carrying transportation device that is uncatagorisable to its current flight counterparts.

E-volvo's multicopter can sustain trips up to 30 minutes, but longer flight times are in the works.

A German company is exploring the future of flight, hoping its prized gadget will one day function the same way as a family car – only in the air.

The tech-savvy team of E-volvo has completed what it calls the world’s first manned flight with an electric multicopter, a helicopter-like machine with 16 propellers.

Video shows Thomas Senkel powering up the device – which is operated with a joystick – and maneuvering it above a field, staying in flight for one minute and thirty seconds.

“The flight characteristics are good natured,” the company said on its website. “Without any steering input it would just hover there on the spot.”

The multicopter runs on lithium batteries and can sustain trips up to thirty minutes.

A hybrid version that would allow even longer flight times is even in the works.

“Simple flight for the average person would be a dream come to reality for us,” E-Volvo says on its website.

The group’s vision is for the machine to function as a personal flight device, ideal for aerial photography or inspecting wind turbines and pipelines -- times when actual helicopters would be too large, expensive or otherwise unrealistic.

A multi-seater version could be used as an air taxi, for sightseeing flights or even as an air ambulance.

“There most certainly will be entirely new use areas that no one has yet imagined,” the group states on its website.

“In some areas, the multicopter may replace the average helicopter. The simple and cost efficient maintenance make it a viable counterpart to current aviational transport.” 


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