Urban Air Mobility (UAM) pioneer Volocopter has taken another step in bringing UAM to life: its fixed-wing passenger aircraft, the VoloConnect, completed its maiden flight in May 2022. This achievement makes Volocopter the only eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft) developer to have an entire fleet of distinct aircraft configurations undergoing flight testing.
Volocopter’s third product solution, the VoloConnect, delivers longer and faster routes than any other Volocopter aircraft to date, with a range of over 60 miles and flight speeds of over 155 mph. The passenger aircraft’s extended range and higher payload will take business travelers and commuters beyond downtown on routes like Burbank to Huntington Beach in Los Angeles, California. With the VoloCity and VoloConnect air taxi designs meeting the demands of metropolitan flights and suburban routes in densely populated areas respectively, Volocopter is ready to meet a wider range of passenger flight needs. The VoloConnect is targeting entry into service in 2026, while the VoloCity is targeting a commercial launch in 2024.
“Having a whole family of electric aircraft in the test flight phase is a pioneering achievement,” said Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO. “Volocopter’s industry leadership stems from announcing plans and then visibly implementing them with public test flights. Our technology platform is the foundation of our aircraft family approach and s proven to deliver results with astonishing speed. Volocopter brings these innovative designs from the ground, to the air, and then to cities around the world!”
“This is an extraordinary moment for us – seeing the VoloConnect soaring into the sky marks the achievement of one of our key milestones and demonstrates exactly what we are capable of in a short time and in line with the company’s overall strategy. company for both manned and unmanned aircraft,” says Sebastian Mores, Chief Engineer, VoloConnect. “In addition, new technologies will be tested which will be gradually implemented during the overall development of the program,” Mores said.
Volocopter has designed the VoloConnect and its other eVTOL aircraft to meet the highest aviation safety standards according to EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). The prototype made its first flight in May 2022 after only 17 months of manufacture and performed a few maneuvers for 2 minutes and 14 seconds during its first flight. The prototype has all the aerodynamic and performance characteristics expected of the future commercial product.
The VoloConnect is a transport and cruiser aircraft optimized for missions beyond urban and suburban space. Reducing moving parts to a minimum, its six rotors facilitate vertical takeoff, while two electric fans combined with lift-creating wings ensure high forward speeds. Its prototype is currently undergoing a series of demanding flight tests to verify that the aircraft and its systems are within performance limits and prepared for further development. This phase includes low-speed, transition, high-speed, and engine-failure testing for subsequent automated and autonomous flight – all standard testing for eVTOL passenger aircraft manufacturers. During the first three test flights of this campaign, the team was able to verify a significant portion of the eVTOL envelope with forward speeds of up to 40 mph and lateral flight speeds of 28 mph during testing.
VoloConnect is poised to energize Volocopter’s total addressable UAM market, alongside existing members of its aircraft family, the VoloDrone and VoloCity. There is no shortage of technological differences between VoloCity and VoloConnect passenger aircraft. Importantly, their unique designs for their specific flight missions, with the VoloCity multirotor air taxi ready to serve intra-city routes, while its transport and cruiser big brother will focus on longer urban and suburban missions. .