Volocopter flies its first passenger


German air taxi manufacturer Volocopter flew its first passenger at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), taking off on a short flight with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

The company’s SureFly vertical take-off and landing (Vtol) air taxi took off for a short flight around a warehouse with Krzanich in the passenger seat, and was remotely piloted from the exhibition hall. The flight was first shown during Intel’s keynote speech at CES, which can be viewed here.

As SureFly touched down, Krzanich praised the Vtol: “That was fantastic. That was the best flight I have ever had. Everybody will fly one of these someday.”

Volocopter currently has no more passengers lined up for future flights.

Air Taxi race

Volocopter is one of many manufacturers that are looking to get in early on the air taxi market. It’s not just start ups that are getting in on the ground floor – both Airbus and Bell are also developing air taxis.

The 18-rotor unmanned aircraft is on track for its development, having taken flight over Dubai last September. Volocopter is expecting SureFly to be fully operational and flying passengers in  Los Angeles, Fort Worth and Dubai by 2020, as part of the UberAir air taxi programme.

Where Volocopter has an edge on other manufactures is in its number of flight hours, having already flown 100+ hours since its first tests in 2011.

When asked what’s next on the agenda for Volocopter, a spokesperson said: “We are looking to establish the first commercial pilot routes around the world to show how the concept of an urban air taxi will work.”