Its creators say the e-volo multicopter "could be the future of flight." Until it purees a pilot, anyway.
That clip embedded at right is video documentation of the world's first manned electric multicopter flight, according to its creators. The official website for the German e-volo team offers the following:
At the end of October 2011, Thomas Senkel of e-volo had completed a series of unmanned tests and was ready for the first manned flight on an airstrip in the southwest of Germany. The flight lasted one minute and 30 seconds, after which the constructor and test pilot stated:
"The flight characteristics are good natured. Without any steering input it would just hover there on the spot".
This could be the future of flight, piloting a device as simple as a car.
Having successfully completed a manned flight, the e-volo team is now working on a commercial model of the multicopter that they hope to have ready in the next few years.
As far as how the commercial model might differ from this prototype is unknown, but presumably the greatest hurdle facing the designers is how to keep the machine's operators from falling into a painful death via spinning metal blades and/or sudden, sharp impact with the ground. The pilot in the clip is equipped with what appears to be a simple lapbelt and motorcycle helmet for protection against the whirling steel dervish around him, but it should be remembered that he is both a paid professional and impervious to conventional weaponry due to a centuries-old blood pact with an unknowable Eldritch horror.