Source | Lilium / Financial Times / YouTube | 16 May 2019 2 minutes
Munich-based Lilium revealed its brand new five-seater air taxi prototype for the first time. The unveiling of the new Lilium Jet came as the all-electric aircraft completed its maiden flight in the skies over Germany earlier in May 2019.
The full-scale, full-weight prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines that allow it to take-off and land vertically, while achieving remarkably efficient horizontal, or cruise, flight. The simplicity of the aircraft design, with no tail, no rudder, no propellers, no gearbox and only one moving part in the engine not only contributes to the safety and affordability of the aircraft, but it has also allowed the design team to focus their efforts on creating a magical customer experience in the cabin, from panoramic windows to gull-wing doors.
With a top speed of 300 km/h and a range of 300 km, the Lilium Jet is capable of completing much longer journeys than the majority of its competitors. This is, in part, thanks to the fixed wing design of the aircraft. While drone-based aircraft consume much of their energy keep-ing an aircraft in the air, the Lilium Jet can rely on the lift generated by the fixed wing to do this, meaning it will require less than ten percent of its maximum 2,000 horsepower during cruise flight. This efficiency, which is comparable to the energy usage of an electric car over the same distance, means the aircraft would not just be capable of connecting suburbs to city centers and airports to main train stations, but would also deliver affordable high-speed connections across entire regions.
The Lilium Jet first took to the air at 08.03 local time on 4th May 2019, having completed extensive ground testing at Lilium’s HQ in Munich, Germany. The prototype aircraft, which is controlled remotely from the ground, has since begun a rigorous flight test campaign that will prove its capability and lay the foundations for certification of the aircraft to safety standards comparable to those of large commercial aircraft.
Lilium plans to manufacture and operate the Lilium Jet as part of a revolutionary on-demand air taxi service. At the push of a button, passengers will be able to use the Lilium app to locate their nearest landing pad and plan their journey with ease. Choosing from a network of pads across cities and regions, passengers will enjoy journeys that are comparable in price with a taxi, yet four times faster. Lilium expects to be fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025, although trial services will start earlier than this in several locations.
The latest five-seater Lilium Jet builds on the successful flight testing of a two-seater prototype in 2017. The two-seater prototype provided proof of concept for Lilium’s signature transition flight maneuver, where the aircraft shifts from vertical to horizontal flight, and laid the groundwork for today’s prototype. The five-seater prototype will now enter a rigorous flight test campaign that will see it demonstrate its full range of capabilities. For more please check out www.lilium.com