Lilium air taxi developer reveals transition video and testing progress

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The electric vertical take off and landing prototype aircraft being developed by Munich-based Lilium has completed the first phase of flight testing.

The video shows for the first time the prototype air taxi taking off, rotating its wings to transition to horizontal flight then doing the same again to land. According to the Lilium the aircraft has also achieved speeds in excess of 100km/h during its first flight earlier this year.

Lilium, which plans to be operating commercial passenger operations by 2025, made the maiden flight of its prototype eVTOL (electric vertical take off and landing) aircraft in May earlier this year.

The Lilium Jet is a five-seater, all-electrical, vertical takeoff and landing jet that is designed to complete journeys of up to 300km in a hour on a single charge, enabling intercity travel.

The first manufacturing facility, a 3,000 square meter space located at the company’s headquarters, will soon be complemented by a second, much larger, facility which is already under construction at the same site. The company aims to be producing hundreds of aircraft a year by the time commercial services begin in 2025.

The Lilium Jet prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines through ducted fans in the wins and is said to require less than 10% of its maximum 2000 horsepower during horizontal cruise flight

The aircraft, which is so far being controlled remotely from the ground during flights, will now move on to its second phase of testing which will look specifically at how it performs at high speeds.

Leandro Bigarella, head of flight test, said, “The Lilium Jet continues to meet our expectations, delivering excellent in-flight performance and remarkably smooth transition from vertical to horizontal flight.

“We take a relentless approach to improvement and, like any good testing program, we have had the chance to implement a number of refinements to the aircraft along the way.

“We are now moving into a critical stage of testing as we prepare for high-speed operations and eventual certification by the relevant authorities.”

The company’s new production facilities will be located at the company’s headquarters in Munich, Germany. Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium said, “Our ambition is to develop a world-class production facility here that will allow us to build critical parts ourselves and then deliver fully-assembled aircraft at the scale of the automotive sector but at the extremely high-quality levels required in the aerospace sector.

“Having our production facility co-locate with our headquarters also makes sense at this point in our development, allowing us to maintain the rapid pace at which we are developing the Lilium Jet, from innovation through to engineering and manufacturing.”

Lilium employs more than 350 people at its base in Munich, with more than 150 roles currently available across a range of disciplines. The new production facilities are expected to create up to 500 new jobs between now and 2025.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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