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Stuttgart: First Volocopter flight in a major German city

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D he weather presented itself from its sunny side, and so it became the star of the weekend: When Mercedes hosted its “Vision Smart City” event around the company's own museum, an unmanned Volocopter rose above a major European city for the first time. Almost exactly at 2 p.m., the aircraft took off on Saturday (14.9.2019), remotely controlled from the ground, over a nearby football field. The Volocopter hovered around 50 meters above sea level for around four minutes before it landed safely again - watched by around 12,500 spectators.

The multicopter developed by the startup of the same name in Bruchsal is supposed to make the dream of “flying for everyone “Let it become real - and at the same time help solve the mobility problem of ever-growing cities. And because people expect so much from this concept, there were plenty of celebrities there. Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) and Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) from the state government of Baden-Württemberg were on site. Daimler, which holds a stake in the Volocopter company, sent its CEO Ola Källenius.

Volocopter test program in Dubai

The fully electrically powered Volocopter VC 200 celebrated its manned first flight in March 2016. Since then, the Bruchsal developers have been working single-mindedly on their vision of the mobility of the future. In September 2017, Volocopter GmbH started a five-year test program for an urban air taxi operation - albeit in Dubai. It was Daimler AG that first brought the Volocopter to Stuttgart. For the “Vision Smart City” event, which dealt with “technical innovations and sustainable transport concepts”, the appearance was a perfect fit, as the 18-motor-driven aircraft fits perfectly into concepts such as car sharing, electric vehicles and future mobile concepts.

Since 2017 the Volocopter has been tested as an air taxi in Dubai. The tests are scheduled for five years.

Simple, safe, electric

Biggest trump card of the Volocopter compared to conventional helicopters is, according to the manufacturer, its simplicity. The control is to be carried out in an uncomplicated way using a joystick, and a redundant design of the systems ensures the highest level of reliability. More than a short briefing in advance is not necessary to fly the two-seater. Even fully autonomous flying is possible with the Volocopter, as the tests in Dubai since 2017 have proven. At a speed of 50 km /h, the VC 200 can remain in the air for around 30 minutes. The maximum speed is 100 km /h, the weight is 450 kg. The Volocopter also scores with its electric drive, especially in metropolitan areas: 'No combustion engine, no noise, no complicated mechanics', writes Volocopter GmbH on its website.

In contrast to other air taxi concepts, where one does not really know whether they are not more of the figments of their inventors than future-proof designs, the development of the Volocopter is already noticeably advanced. In 2016, it was the first multicopter in the world to be approved for manned flights. 2018 the ADAC announced to test the Volocopter in Bavaria and Rhineland-Palatinate for its suitability for the rescue service.


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