Multi-Rotor Private Aircraft In the Works
NASA and it contractor has successfully flow a scale model of an electric-powered VTOL drone called the GL-10. Ten electric motors are mounted along its wing, which pivots to allow for both vertical take-off and forward flight.
A Santa Cruz company called Joby Aviation want to take that concept and turn it into a two-place aircraft called the S2. The animated video below shows how the concept would work. What makes both concept viable are light, compact, yet powerful electric motors. As with electric cars, however, the current obstacle is energy density of today's batteries. It takes an enormous amount of energy to lift any object into the air, especially straight up. Maintaining level flight is less demanding, but to get any useful range out of something like the S2 will require either a hybrid system or energy storage systems with more capability than is currently available. The company predicts a 200 mph airspeed. Notice in the video there is no audio. Spinning up all those propellers, even if their motors are electric, is not liable to be a quiet affair by any means.
Should Heaven and the FAA smile and all the technological pieces fall neatly into place, it is likely the S2 will remain a rich man's toy for any foreseeable future. But I sure like to fly it at least once in my life.
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