Friedrichshafen, Germany (April 20, 2012) – Today at AERO-Friedrichshafen, Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, announced the AERO 2012 winner of the Lindbergh Prize. The Lindbergh Foundation’saviation prizes are designed to recognize and stimulate innovation, and promote meaningful advancements in green aviation.
e-volo is the winner of the AERO 2012 Lindbergh Prize for Innovation. Many innovative aircraft designs on display at AERO-Friedrichshafen this year were considered by the independent judging panel, but one aircraft stood out. In fact, this aircraft was so innovative that it appears to be in a category all by itself.
The e-volo Volocopter VC1 is a completely novel vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) system. Using the distributed power of multiple small electric propulsion units, e-volo has demonstrated breakthroughs in redundancy, simplicity of controls and inefficiencies inherent in the control surfaces normally used in aircraft.
Safety: The VC1 proof of concept includes multiple redundancies of all security relevant systems including 16 motors, controllers and propellers. The next phase design, Volocopter VC evolution 2P, will relocate the propulsion units above the fuselage which should improve the stability with a lower center of gravity and allow for the use of a whole airframe parachute (a safety system not normally available in a helicopter).
Simplicity: e-volo has demonstrated control of this aircraft with a fly-by-wire system using a joystick. One can imagine that a new generation of pilots will be able to transition right from their smart phones and game stations to the Volocopter, an aircraft that will ultimately be easy and safe to fly.
Efficiency: The e-volo system has a unique application of electric power to control flight direction and velocity, much different than normal flight controls. For example, ailerons, elevators and rudders create drag when they are applied to change the flight path of a normal aircraft. The VC1 demonstrates the potential of differential power to change flight path which will reduce the amount of power required. Also, with multiple small distributed electric propulsion units the amount of noise generated is significantly reduced.
“We believe that the development of the Volocopter holds significant promise to radically change short distance transportation,” said Erik Lindbergh. “It has a long development path ahead, but if this innovative design reaches the commercial market it will dramatically change the way we move about the planet.”
The Bose Corporation provided two QC-15 acoustic noise cancelling headsets to be awarded to the prize winning team.
About The Lindbergh Foundation
The Lindbergh Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, based in Anoka, Minnesota, which focuses on technological breakthroughs to address significant aviation-environmental issues. The Lindbergh Foundation also values individual initiative and accomplishments. Its programs are devoted to supporting, honoring, and educating individuals, through three major programs: the annual Lindbergh Award, presented to individuals for significant contributions toward balancing nature and scientific innovation in their work; the Lindbergh Grants program, which provides grants in amounts up to $10,580 (the cost of building the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927) for research or education projects that will make important contributions to the technology/environment balance; and a variety of educational events including the new Aviation Green Alliance.
For the development, marketing and sale of the volocopter, e-volo is managed as an independent branch of industry of the Syntern Corporation (GmbH). Syntern specializes in the development of embedded software for the industry. Stephan Wolf, director and owner of Syntern GmbH, got to know the physicist Thomas Senkel in an internet forum in a discussion on quadrocopters. Thomas www.e-volo.com
Senkel specializes in the development of electric drives and the construction of ultra light vehicles. Alexander Zosel, a visionary entrepreneur and inventor, was sold on the idea of rescaling the model to the size of a manned aircraft too.Together, the innovators invented and built the volocopter VC1 in a process that took over a year. For the further development of the volocopter, e-volo has compiled a network of notable partners from research and industry. The aim of the collaboration is a two-seater volocopter which complies with regulations, based on the concept study of the VC Evolution 2P.