Volocopter's e-Volo On Display at Berlin GreenTec Awards

Airbus wins award, but electric multicopter wows the crowd.

Airbus won enviro-bragging rights at last week's GreenTec award ceremony, claiming Europe's "most important environment and business award" for its work on fuel cells in commercial aircraft.

But all eyes were also focused on the latest model from Volocopter, which was suspended from the ceiling during the presentation. Volocopter's recently completed two-seat prototype, the VC200, captured the attention. Managing director Stephan Wolf said the electric-powered multicopter is scheduled to fly manned flights by the year's end. With an endurance of up to 20 minutes on its battery power, the VC200 uses 18 electric motors driving fixed pitch rotors on six booms (each with three rotors). Control is achieved by changing rotor speed on appropriate motors, rather than changing pitch as on a conventional helicopter. A computerized fly-by-wire system responds to the pilot's movement of a joystick controller.

The Volocopter website describes it this way: "The pilot pays little or no attention to the flight path angle, minimum speed, stall, mixture control, pitch adjustment and many other things which make conventional aviating so demanding." If desired, an optional pusher propeller would allow greater forward speed for the VC200.

The company successfully flew its single-place multicopter in 2011. To see the VC200 being assembled for display at the GreenTec awards, watch the video below:

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