Volocopter announces successful first flight of VoloConnect eVTOL
While eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft certainly are fascinating, it's hard to say how many will ever be anything more than concepts. Volocopter's VoloConnect may be the real deal, however, as it flew for the first time last month.
The Bruchsal, Germany-based Volocopter company made the announcement this Tuesday (June 7th), at the UP.Summit transportation tech conference in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Few details on the uncrewed test flight have been disclosed, other than the facts that it took place in May, included a few basic maneuvers, lasted 2 minutes and 14 seconds, and utilized a prototype with "all the planned aerodynamics and performance features of the future commercial product."
Apparently other short flights have taken place since then, as part of an initial phase of testing. That phase will be devoted to assessing the aircraft's low- and high-speed performance, its ability to transition between vertical and horizontal flight, and its ability to compensate for engine failure while in flight. Already, the eVTOL has successfully reached a top forward speed of 64 km/h (40 mph) and a sideways speed of 45 km/h (28 mph).
As far as basic specs go, the VoloConnect features six rotors for vertical takeoffs and landings, along with two electric fans that work with its fixed wings to create lift for forward light. It's capable of carrying four passengers, and should ultimately have a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), a cruising speed of 180 km/h (112 mph) and a maximum range of 100 km (62 miles).
Plans call for it to enter service in 2026. You can see a few highlights of its first flight in the video below.
It should also be noted that Volocopter's shorter-haul VoloCity eVTOL (formerly known as the 2X) has already made several crewed public flights.