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E-Volo: World's First Manned Electric Multicopter Takes Off Successfully


Once in a while, innovation sparks in some people’s minds, resulting in things that could change everything from then on. Thomas Senkel, a German engineer, just like the early aircraft pioneers did at the beginning of the 20th century, performed a first manned flight in a 16-rotor electric multicopter he called “e-Volo”. His flight lasted for a minute and a half.

Senkel envisions his e-Volo machine would revolutionize the way we move, since driving a car with an automatic gearbox is way too complicated compared to this one. The e-Volo only has one joystick, and can be flown as easy as one can imagine. Just let the joystick alone and it’ll hover above the spot that you’d leave it – no other controls involved.

This has actually been done already in RC helicopters, and while the e-Volo is nothing more than a huge RC helicopter, it weighs 80 kilos and can fly for about 20 minutes with its current set of lithium ion batteries. Putting a small gasoline engine would dramatically improve the flight time to about one hour, but Senkel doesn’t want that. He sticks to the clean idea of a 100% electric flight.

Well, maybe Senkel’s multicopter won’t change the world to one where we won’t drive cars anymore, but in a few years, if developed properly, would be one of the newest and coolest ways of entertainment and will give birth to a whole new generation of hobbyists and an industry to rival that of automobiles.

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