Flying Car: Lilium Jet take its first test flight in Germany
The Lilium Jet – The world's first all-electric VTOL jet
Lilium Jet Electric Flying Car
The Lilium Jet successfully completed its maiden test flight series in the skies above Bavaria. The 2-seater Eagle prototype executed a range of complex maneuvers, including its signature mid-air transition from hover mode to wing-borne forward flight.
Seeing the Lilium Jet take to the sky and performing sophisticated maneuvers with apparent ease is testament to the skill and perseverance of our amazing team.
The two-seater prototype features an electric powertrain and 36 electric engines which are mounted to its wings via 12 moveable flaps. The flaps are pointed down during takeoff and gradually tilt into a horizontal position to provide forward thrust. When the flaps are fully horizontal, the prototype operates the same way as a conventional airplane.
This setup allows the Lilium Jet to takeoff and land like a helicopter but travel as fast as an airplane. In this particular application, the prototype has a maximum cruising speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and a range in excess of 300 km (186 miles).
Flying cars, that perennial dream for futurists that always seem to be at least five years away, may be a little closer to reality than we realize. A lot of prototypes have been showcased recently, and a lot of money is being tossed around. More people than ever seem to buy into the crazy notion that in the near future we’ll be buzzing between rooftops in private, autonomous drones. Today, Munich-based Lilium Aviation announced an important milestone: the first test flight of its all-electric, two-seater, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) prototype.
In a video provided by the Munich-based startup, the aircraft can be seen taking off vertically like a helicopter, and then accelerating into forward flight using wing-borne lift.
The craft is powered by 36 separate jet engines mounted on its 10-meter long wings via 12 movable flaps. At take-off, the flaps are pointed downwards to provide vertical lift. And once airborne, the flaps gradually tilt into a horizontal position, providing forward thrust.
During the tests, the jet was piloted remotely, but its operators say their first manned flight is close-at-hand. And Lilium claims that its electric battery “consumes around 90 percent less energy than drone-style aircraft,” enabling the aircraft to achieve a range of 300 kilometers (183 miles) with a maximum cruising speed of 300 kph (183 mph).
In many ways, electric-powered aviation is still in its infancy. Electric cars with thousand-pound batteries generally max out at 300 miles per charge. The most sophisticated electric aircraft today can barely muster an hour aloft at 99 mph — and that’s without vertical take-off and landing. But Patrick Nathen, co-founder of Lilium Jet and the startup’s head of calculation and design, said their battery technology will get the job done.
“It’s the same battery that you can find in any Tesla,” Nathen told The Verge. “The concept is that we are lifting with our wings as soon as we progress into the air with velocity, which makes our airplane very efficient. Compared to other flights, we have extremely low power consumption.”
Safety is a major emphasis at Lilium, Nathen added. While the startup is working toward having its aircraft piloted autonomously, it intends to use human pilots in the meantime. There will be parachutes on board, and something called the “Flight Envelope Protection System” will prevents the pilot from performing maneuvers or flying the aircraft beyond safe flight parameters.
The plan is to eventually build a 5-passenger version of the jet. So anyone who dreams of a minivan version of the Jetsons’ flying car, this craft is for you. And naturally, Lilium envisions its aircraft used in dense, urban areas in an on-demand capacity. Pull out your smartphone, book a seat, and make your way to the nearest launchpad, which can be found at street level or on a nearby rooftop. Like Uber, but for flying cars (even though Uber is already working on its own version).
Patrick Nathen, Co-founder Lilium Aviation, works together with his team on a solution to minimize car traffic in the cities. His answer: An electrically powered jet, that can start and land like a helicopter: vertically. So no runway or airport is needed. Range: 500 km (310 miles) at a speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) with zero emissions. More BMW Welcomes: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...
The egg-shaped plane, called Lilium, has been heralded as high up as the European Space Agency (ESA)
The plane, designed by four German engineers, takes off and lands vertically, meaning it can use helipads
Lilium has a top speed of 250mph, a range of 300 miles and only requires 50 feet by 50 feet of space