After over a year of work on the development of the VC1, the e-volo team achieved their goal on the 21st October 2011: The first manned flight world-wide with a purely electrically powered, vertical take-off and landing Volocopter succeeded. The invention of the Volocopter and the test flight with the VC1 have been celebrated globally in over 200 television reports and countless press reports as pioneer work in aviation.
As the federal ministry of economics and technology granted 2 million € as a subsidy of the project-related costs, e-volo is working together with a research and industry syndicate to build the VC200, the first Volocopter in the world to carry two people.
The Volocopter is an absolutely novel aircraft which cannot be assigned to any existing aviation category.
The greatest challenge after technical realisation is to be able to place such an aircraft on the market. As the Volocopter is the first of its kind, an official basis needs to be created in the first step to allow for air traffic participation.
The innovative concept of an electrical vertical take-off aircraft convinced the supreme authority for aviation in Germany, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) to such an extent that it has commissioned a two to three year trial programme for the creation of a new category in aviation.
The relevant organizations, namely the German Ultralight Aircraft Association (DULV), the German Sports Aircraft Association (DAeC) and the German Federal Aviation Office (LBA) will work together with the project team of e-volo on the creation of a new manufacturing specification for the Volocopter, including legal regulations (where and when the Volocopter has permission to fly), and the training specifications for future pilots of the Volocopter.
In the course of the trial programme, the Volocopter will be granted a provisional airworthiness certificate after having undergone extensive endurance testing of the passenger cabin, the landing framework and the rotor array. The goal is to achieve this by mid 2013 in order to be able to begin with test flights for the trial programme as soon as possible. The test flights will take place on the glider airfield in Bruchsal, where the factory of the DG Flugzeugbau (DG Aircraft Construction) is located. DG Aircraft Construction handles the production of the mechanical bodywork of the VC200 in the carbon lightweight mode of construction.
At the end of the trial programme, a prototype certification of the VC200 in line with the newly created category of ultralight rotor aircraft named Volocopter will enable the future serial production.
Consequently, in Germany people with a private pilot licence will be able to fly e-volo’s Volocopter in the near future.
Background: regarding ultralight aircraft
In Europe, ultralight aircraft are defined as very lightweight motor-powered aircraft carrying up to two people. Internationally, there are several ultralight aircraft categories with country-specific certification regulations.
In order to fly ultralight aircraft in Germany, a private pilot license is required. This licence varies depending on the different categories. According to national law, the various different categories of aerial sports equipment are put under the umbrella definition of ultralight aircraft. The maximum takeoff mass of ultralight two-seater aircraft may not exceed 450 kg in Europe.