In the coming year, engineers will continue working on the prototype, which the company boasts will be lighter, safer, quieter and greener than any other helicopter in the world.
That’s because a traditional helicopter uses one rotor to provide lift and a tail rotor to prevent the aircraft from spinning in circles. It maneuvers by changing the pitch of the two rotors. The volocopter has 18 small rotors mounted in a configuration that provides lift without causing the vehicle to spin. It navigates by changing the speed of individual rotors.
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How difficult? The Sikorsky Prize from the American Helicopter Society has promised $250,000 to anyone that build’s a human-powered helicopter that can “hover for a minute, reach a height of 3 meters (about 10 feet), and stay in a 10-meter box.”
No one has claimed this prize in 30 years. And not for a lack of trying.