Volocopter demonstrates capabilities in Paris. Whereas most eVTOL Urban Air Mobility aircraft are just concepts, the German aircraft maker is already well-advanced. Its 2X prototype performed a 3-minute demonstration flight on June 21 at Le Bourget airport on the occasion of the Paris Air Forum. Volocopter says it was the first flight in France.
The Volocopter 2X was unmanned but flew remotely controlled at an altitude of 30 meters and a speed of 30 kilometers/hour over a distance of 500 meters, before making a smooth landing on the apron. Inside Le Bourget Airport, a full-scale model of the VoloCity was on display for the Air Forum event that was a kind of substitute for the canceled Paris Airshow.
There’s more to Volocopters flight test in Paris. Last September, the company, Groupe ADP (Aeroports de Paris), and RATP Group announced the creation of a UAM test area at Pontoise airfield to demonstrate the validity of the German eVTOL concept. Together with the French aviation regulatory agency DGAC and EASA, Volocopter will undertake a rigorous test program with the aim of having the Volocopter fully certified and ready for commercial use. Volocopter targets the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris to have the flying taxi fully available. Next should be commercial flights in Singapore.
Volocopter plans family of eVTOLs
Volocopter has been working on UAM since 2011 when it performed the first piloted eVTOL flight with its VC1 prototype. Since then, the Bruchsal-based company has developed its concepts and done over 1.000 test flights. Volocopter plans a family of eVTOL vehicles, including VoloDrone for heavy-lift 200 kilograms cargo flights over 40 kilometers distance.
A full-scale model of the VoloCity was on show at Le Bourget. (Volocopter)
VoloCity is a 2-seater with 18 rotors on a circular structure that has a range of 35 kilometers. Its maximum payload is 200 kilograms with a maximum take-off weight of 900 kilograms.
The ultimate Volocopter will be VoloConnect, a fixed-wing eVTOL with two propulsion fans and six motors and rotors that can transport four passengers over 100 kilometers at a speed of 180-250 km/h.
In contrast to other eVTOL-makers like Vertical Aerospace and Archer Aerospace, Volocopter has had only limited commercial success so far. The company announced its first order last December when Germany’s ADAC Luftrettung ordered two for its medical response services.
Volocopter is owned by founders Alexander Zosel and Stephan Wolf. Among its investors are big names like Intel, Daimler AG (the parent of Mercedes-Benz), and Chinese Geely Holding Group (the owner of Volvo Cars). In 2019, Geely supported the raising of Series C funding that bolstered Volocopters capital to €85 million at the time. The company has since then raised its capital to €369.2 million and has the backing of twenty investors.