Aircraft

Lilium shows its electric air taxi pulling off some banked turns

Lilium shows its electric air ...
The Lilium jet in action during its maiden flight
The Lilium jet in action during its maiden flight
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The Lilium jet in action during its maiden flight
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The Lilium jet in action during its maiden flight
Engineers work on the Lilium aircraft at the company's facility in southern Germany
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Lilium hopes to have a fully commercial service operating in two or three places around the world by 2025
Rendering of the Lilium VTOL taxi in flight
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Rendering of the Lilium VTOL taxi in flight
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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.

Watch a complete Lilium Jet test flight

Source: Lilium

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5 comments
buzzclick
The first image isn't the same as the others we've seen. The R&D team is certainly determined to get this project going. Was there an equivalent weight of 5 people in this demo? No doubt it's making a racket, but I don't know what the noise limits are. A chopper's operating noise is a lower frequency than 36 whining wind turbines. I think the only way to fly noiselessly is with anti-gravity, so some day in the future they're gonna have a laugh at our expense. Safety, reliability, efficiency and economy are not easy nuts to crack. Would love to be wrong here, so I wish them much success for their hard work.
Graeme S
climbing at 300fpm, is that it?, what payload are they carrying, accelerate to 35 knots
simple ultralights perform way better than this so where is the amazement??
sidmehta
Great! Hope to see commercial electric jets with vertical takeoff in 5 years.
ljaques
Bloody 'ell, I'll be glad when one of their test pilots takes that out for a REAL test flight, and records it with the sound ON. These baby step vids are truly boring. Do those as required for the FAA and NTSA, but make real vids for potential customers and/or investors, will ya? // Or just develop anti-grav and get rid of all that noise!
John Sellers
To buzzclick:
The most recent data on speed and distance is 300 km/hr and 300 km range. That is enough for a lot of applications,... for example, the SF Bay Area cities and airports. Also, I have seen a video with sound, and it is not all that loud at all.

The VTO to cruise transition gives it a good range for the energy consumption. It is inherently better for distance than a helicopter or quadcopter. Word is that transportation cost is competitive to an electronic automobile.

At the same time, it has the quadcopter stability in landing and taking off.

I have liked its design for quite some time because internal thrust can't chop up passengers, and when it is internal, it is less vulnerable to external accidents involving propellors. Also, having 36 of them means cost savings through repeated replication as well as redundancy in case a few quick working. The configuration means redundancy in the ability to stay balanced as well. They aren't all going to quit working at the same time due to their mechanics. It is small enough for the whole vehicle to be parachuted in case of major failures.

The simplicity of the design is good. There is ONLY ONE component with major mechanical design challenges compared to most flying vehicles which usually have several big challenges.

What is more, the structure of comparable wings and flap design is well exercised from conventional airplane design, so this part of the design is better understood than many of the new ideas that are "floating" around (pun intended). The design of wings and flag configuration is on very solid ground.

I think that the Lilium has a good chance of working out since apparently all the major problems are pretty well covered coupled with its straight forward design.