In late October, German engineer and founder of e-Volo, Thomas Senkel, flew for the first time in an aircraft called the multicopter. This multicopter is driven purely by electric energy and can be classified as an ultra-light aircraft with more engines and propellers than the average helicopter.
The e-Volo multicopter has not less than 16 electric motors, as many propellers, and a weight (without load) of 80 kg including the electric batteries. The method used to build e-Volo is absolutely trivial: light metal structure made of aluminum, some lithium-ion batteries, electric motors and, finally, a ball that cushions the pilot’s landing who sits in a chair above the thing.
Senkel says that the hardest challenge was adjusting the software for simultaneous control of 16 engines. Speed variations or battery failures could lead to a physical imbalance of the machine, thus the software handles all of these parameters. The e-Volo multicopter is currently in prototype mode and can fly for about 30 minutes, but the German engineers are working on improving and easing the structure to overcome a range of at least one hour of continuous flight.