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Volocopter: 18-propeller electric helicopter takes flight

Published on Nov 29 2013 // Technology

131121161550-e-volo-flight-horizontal-gallery(CNN) — There’s a lot to be said for determination. Two years ago, a contraption that looked a bit like a bouncy ball attached to a clothesline, took flight in a pioneering experiment in the German countryside.

A YouTube clip of a man flying the electric “Multicopter” attracted over 8 million hits, with comments ranging from: “AMAZING MACHINE!” to “Not sure you could pay me enough to sit in the middle of flying blenders bolted together.”

Regardless, the three German engineers behind the baffling creation plowed ahead with their dream of making an electric helicopter. Last week it paid off.

There wasn’t a bouncy ball in sight as the slick white “Volocopter” took to the air for the first time, quietly hovering 20 meters high, while its ecstatic creators cheered below.

Featuring 18 propellers on a lightweight carbon frame, the futuristic copter — which has been around €4 million ($5.4 million) in the making — could change the way we commute forever.

Read: SkyCall — The drone that’s your personal tour guide

“What we’re looking at now, is in the future where everyone is traveling not by car, but by some kind of aircraft,” explained Stephan Wolf, co-chief executive of e-volo, the company behind the remarkable flying machine.

“Normal helicopters are very hard to fly. But we thought ‘what if you could have a helicopter that is easy for the pilot to fly, and cheap compared to other aircraft?’”

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