Volocopter at Oshkosh

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Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by StressMerchant » Sat Jul 31, 2021 11:15 am

Youtube video of the Volocopter at Oshkosh:


As a matter of interest, one of the senior people in the program is a former South African. Great to see him doing well, pity so may SA people have to leave the country for opportunities.
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by Ray W » Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:16 pm

That looks like a lot of fun.
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by GL » Sun Aug 01, 2021 8:12 am

I remain a sceptic.
I attended a lecture which showed that a single rotor is far more efficient than all those little rotors - or even a quadrotor. An then there is all the weight of that structure! If that was a Colibi Guimbal with batteries it would surely perform far better?
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by cage » Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:06 am

GL wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 8:12 am
I remain a sceptic.
It's a great science/development project but is hopelessly impractical.
With current load and operational limitations, its practical applications, beyond a novelty attraction for the Emirates, is extremely limited.

It is much more likely we will see hybrids entering the conventional aviation space.
There is just far too much power needed (way beyond an EV) to be commercially viable using battery storage.
Turbine powered/assisted electrics will be a good step forward.

All these demonstrators are just a lesson of what you could do if you synchronise many drones together.
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by tansg » Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:34 am

cage wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:06 am
GL wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 8:12 am
I remain a sceptic.
It's a great science/development project but is hopelessly impractical.
With current load and operational limitations, its practical applications, beyond a novelty attraction for the Emirates, is extremely limited.

It is much more likely we will see hybrids entering the conventional aviation space.
There is just far too much power needed (way beyond an EV) to be commercially viable using battery storage.
Turbine powered/assisted electrics will be a good step forward.

All these demonstrators are just a lesson of what you could do if you synchronise many drones together.
Cage Volocopter has already been rejected by the Dubai emirate government as its operational limitations as you mention are terrible e.g. 20min endurance without AC not to mention limited payload ops with DAs 5000'+

The big limitations come down to 2 things with Urban Mobility Vehicles (snazzy name hey?) Safety and Security. As you imagine there are multitude of Safety issues in play and Security is just as much of a worry as what is being carried and secureness of the operations from being hijacked in some form or another.

The technology is simply still to immature for it to be anything other than an a novelty. However the number of breakthroughs in battery technology being claimed around the world in various scientific journals (cellphone batteries that only need a charge every 5 years and then fully charge in 3 hours) means that this could largely be overcome in 5 - 10 years time if not sooner. Hybrid operations is only foreseen as a temporary phase.

There are number of conventionally powered drones which are making a come back in the time being to address these shortfalls including a number with the conventional helicopter layout.

https://alphaunmannedsystems.com/
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by cage » Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:54 am

tansg wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:34 am
However the number of breakthroughs in battery technology being claimed around the world in various scientific journals (cellphone batteries that only need a charge every 5 years and then fully charge in 3 hours) means that this could largely be overcome in 5 - 10 years time if not sooner. Hybrid operations is only foreseen as a temporary phase.
I don't disagree with you, there is a difference, however, producing long-life, lightweight batteries for low current discharge rates (such as consumer electronics) and ones needing to deliver 1000HP or more.
We then also have to factor in the time needed to certify aircraft and tech, so we could be talking 20 years.
That is a long interim period.

It also depends what you are trying to solve with electric components.
The pollution aspects are less beneficial for the light aircraft market.
You could improve safety, performance and reduce complexity - all good things.

My money is on more autonomous systems and hybrids for the majority of the next 2 decades.
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by Arch » Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:46 pm

No pitch control - no autorotation capability, so you entrust your survival to the reliability of the equipment, with no redundancy. No thanks
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by cage » Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:51 pm

Arch wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:46 pm
No pitch control - no autorotation capability, so you entrust your survival to the reliability of the equipment, with no redundancy. No thanks
Apparently motor control is independent and all the motors aren't required for operation, so in some respects there is more redundancy than you would find in a conventional rotorcraft.
Ultimately there are single points of failure, which would be unrecoverable, in every ship.

If they remove the top section, it could make a nice outdoor air-conditioner for warmer climates - business opportunity. :twisted:
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by Hop Harrigan » Sun Aug 01, 2021 1:11 pm

I’m afraid I remain an electric vehicle sceptic.
Firstly we need the big battery breakthrough of a 10-100 fold increase in specific energy capacity (kWh/volume) to come near that of liquid fuel.
Secondly the pollution-free concept is largely a myth, particularly in developing countries. So you pollute the E Transvaal and not wherever you’re flying/driving your UMV.
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by lion » Sun Aug 01, 2021 11:39 pm

Bit of thread drift, but Oskar (South African in NZ) has achieved great results with this. He has posted lots of technical/info on the development. He removed the two stroke from his Mosquito and fitted an electric motor and 7 drone motors for the tail rotor.

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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by GL » Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:00 am

Really impressive - much more efficient than a multi rotor - and nice flying!
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by StressMerchant » Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:48 pm

GL wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:00 am
Really impressive - much more efficient than a multi rotor - and nice flying!
Efficiency is not always everything.

As many people have pointed out, the energy density of conventional liquid fuels is far better than batteries. But consider your simple RC park flyers - why are most of them battery powered? Ease of "refuelling", reduced noise - it may not be the most efficient flying system, but it meets the user requirements better than the old glow fuels.

Why have so many rotors? The clue is that they are trying to develop a certified air vehicle that can carry a person in an urban environment. A large open rotor may be aerodynamically efficient, but not meet the various mobility and bystander safety requirements.

The problem is that once you start playing with the drone-type multi rotor designs, things can get complicated quickly. Consider the simple quad rotor drone, such as the Parrot types. How do they counter the torque of the rotors? By arranging pairs of rotors to rotate in opposing directions. Very neat, except what do you do when one fails? How do you get the machine to maintain lift and balance? Not too important with your Parrot drone, but somehwat important for an air vehicle with a human occupant. Which is why some of the big camera drone systems play with hex layouts - 6 rotors. If one fails, you can turn off the opposing rotor and you're left with a quad - you can still bring it down safely.

The key certification requirements will doubtless include the same core requirements as current aircraft systems, namely:
- No single point of failure may cause catastrophic loss
- The probability of a sequence of failures leading to catastrophe must be less than 1:1,000,000,000 (1:10^9)

The authorities will probably insist that the air vehicle must either be able to autorotate (as per current Part 27 helicopters), or meet the 1:10^9 requirement. Which may explain the multitude of rotors.

It's an interesting development. I don't know if it will succeed, but the existence of a flying prototype and a definite certification strategy puts them a few steps ahead of the graphic art merchants.
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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by skytrooper » Wed Aug 04, 2021 8:56 am

The battery of tomorrow is already here.
See this video of the Joby flying 150 miles.
With payload you will have some reduced flying time, but its good enough for short distance use which is a niche that around the globe will be filled.

As far as certification, yes the road is long and hard, but most hurdles have been overcome. These guys are cooperating with the FAA in every aspect and i will not be surprised to see it start its first commercial flight within the next 3-5 years.

Think about this comparing it to a helicopter:
Autorotations is a great life saver, but also do go down bad many a time. its not perfect.

Electric motors are much more responsive and quicker to react in turbulant situations, with the FC making split second changes converted in near realtime from stick to prop, and automatically counters turbulance almost instantly.

They are also extremely reliable. there will be multiple fc's
for redundency as well.

Then there is Ehang which already operates commercially in China.

The EVTOL won't replace the heli, it will fill a niche that a heli cannot fill.

Rotors stop almost instantly and starts up the same before and after each flight

These videos speak for themselves



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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by jimdavis » Wed Aug 04, 2021 9:41 am

StressMerchant wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:48 pm
GL wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:00 am
Really impressive - much more efficient than a multi rotor - and nice flying!
Efficiency is not always everything.

As many people have pointed out, the energy density of conventional liquid fuels is far better than batteries. But consider your simple RC park flyers - why are most of them battery powered? Ease of "refuelling", reduced noise - it may not be the most efficient flying system, but it meets the user requirements better than the old glow fuels.

Why have so many rotors? The clue is that they are trying to develop a certified air vehicle that can carry a person in an urban environment. A large open rotor may be aerodynamically efficient, but not meet the various mobility and bystander safety requirements.

The problem is that once you start playing with the drone-type multi rotor designs, things can get complicated quickly. Consider the simple quad rotor drone, such as the Parrot types. How do they counter the torque of the rotors? By arranging pairs of rotors to rotate in opposing directions. Very neat, except what do you do when one fails? How do you get the machine to maintain lift and balance? Not too important with your Parrot drone, but somehwat important for an air vehicle with a human occupant. Which is why some of the big camera drone systems play with hex layouts - 6 rotors. If one fails, you can turn off the opposing rotor and you're left with a quad - you can still bring it down safely.

The key certification requirements will doubtless include the same core requirements as current aircraft systems, namely:
- No single point of failure may cause catastrophic loss
- The probability of a sequence of failures leading to catastrophe must be less than 1:1,000,000,000 (1:10^9)

The authorities will probably insist that the air vehicle must either be able to autorotate (as per current Part 27 helicopters), or meet the 1:10^9 requirement. Which may explain the multitude of rotors.

It's an interesting development. I don't know if it will succeed, but the existence of a flying prototype and a definite certification strategy puts them a few steps ahead of the graphic art merchants.
As usual, a very interesting post, Stressors. I would think that another huge plus is the ease of flying. The savings in the cost of pilot training and salaries will be enormous.

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Re: Volocopter at Oshkosh

Unread post by cage » Wed Aug 04, 2021 9:49 am

jimdavis wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 9:41 am
The savings in the cost of pilot training and salaries will be enormous.
It would be hard to pay helo pilots any less :lol:
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