Lilium shows its electric air taxi pulling off some banked turns
Aviation company Lilium is pushing ahead with testing of its all-electric jet, with the latest footage to emerge from the German startup showing the aircraft pulling off a few new moves. While short and not exactly spectacular, the test flight marks another step forward for a company aiming to have a commercial air taxi service up and running in 2025.
While Lilium has been on the flying taxi scene since emerging out of a European Space Agency incubator back in 2016, it was only this year that its electric aircraft made its maiden flight. We then saw it fly at speeds of over 100 km (62 mph) in October, moving between a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) configuration and winged flight.
This latest video is from the same series of trial flights in early October, and shows the jet take off vertically for a short jaunt around the testing area. Once in the air, it accelerates up to a speed of 65 km/h (40 mph), ascends at a rate of 300 ft (91 m) per minute, performs a turn at a 20-degree bank angle, ups the bank angle to 30 degrees, descends at 300 ft per minute before another banked turn and vertical landing.
Unlike the earlier video, which was a few shots of the flying jet cut together with some dramatic music laid over the top, the latest video shows the test flight in its entirety. Lilium says the three-minute flight was part of controllability testing designed to see how the aircraft behaves during banked turns, and that it performed as expected.
Lilium says it has now wrapped up this first phase of testing, and its next focus will be on the complete transition to wing-borne flight, which will involve the shifting the 12 flaps through 0º to direct airflow over the wings. Ultimately, the Lilium jet is expected to have a cruise speed of of up 300 km/h.
The company hopes to have a fully commercial service operating in two or three places around the world by 2025. You can see the latest Lilium testing video below.