Friday, November 4, 2011

Three German inventors make a practical one-man flying machine

Innovative and a very cool idea. I have seen the Mythbusters try to create a personal flying machine and here is an example of how inventors can come up with workable solutions.

Small powerful electric motors and a light frame make it work....awesome use of the technology.

One-man flying space hopper could become the 'air car' of the future

80kg machine can take off vertically like a jump jet
Powered by Lithium Ion batteries
Inventor claims the 16-rotor machine will make helicopters 'obsolete
Could be used for 'air sports' - or even as a flying car

By Emma Reynolds - UK Mail
4th November 2011

It might look like as space hopper surrounded by model helicopters, but the 16-rotor E-Volo is an entirely new kind of helicopter - which can hover motionless in the air without input from the pilot

Its bold engineer, Thomas Senkel, took the machine on its first manned flight this week - lasting 1 minute 30 seconds.

It's not the first electric helicopter flight - but this is a new kind of machine, steered simply by joystick, with the pilot sitting above the rotors. Senkel says it could revolutionise transport.

Mr Senkel's eco-friendly contraption has 16 rotors, with each flight lasting about 20 minutes before the batteries need a recharge

The three inventors claim their flying machine could be used for inspecting pipelines, as an air ambulance or for taking aerial photographs - as well as just for fun.

Once they have solved the problem of how to keep it in the air for longer - and support more people - Senkel hopes it might replace helicopters for good.

It's far easier to fly than ordinary helicopters - it's steered by rotor speed, which is computer-controlled, so the pilot just needs to use a joystick as if playing a videogame, rather than controlling multiple complex contorols at once.

Senkel describes the easy-to-use machine as 'good-natured' and potentially capable of replacing the helicopter in many situations.

He added: 'Without any steering input it would just hover there on the spot.'

The multicopter is currently only able to fly for around 20 minutes because it runs on lithium-ion batteries. But E-volo hope rapidly developing technology will mean they can complete hour-long flights in the near future.

A hybrid drive, in which a conventional internal combustion engine generates the electrical power, would already show an hour-long flight time.

A one-hour flight would cost around six euros in electricity. The machine has few parts, which could wear out, meaning the aircraft needs little maintenance.

E-volo say their aircraft is special because of the 'simplicity of its engineered construction without complicated mechanics, and redundant engines.'

In an emergency, it can land even if four of its 16 rotors fail. And since the propellers sit below the pilot, a safety parachute can also be deployed.

The controls could be integrated with GPS software, the three friends claim, and the machine could even automatically avoid obstacles and direct itself to pre-determined locations. E-Volo have already completed several successful 'drone' flights with the vehicle, controlled remotely from the ground.

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