The world’s first fully electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) jet has completed its maiden test flight in Bavaria, Germany, the two-seater ‘Eagle’ prototype completed a range of complex stratagem in the sky, including a transition from hover-mode to wing-borne forward flight.
Lilium, the company developing the jet-propelled vehicle, says it could eventually change the face of transport by allowing passengers to rapidly travel through cities or commute long distances quickly.
According to a Lilium press release, the electric vehicle can carry two passengers with a range of around 300 kilometers 186 miles and is capable of hitting a max cruising speed of 300 km/h 186 mph.
The basic concept of a VTOL is that it has the benefits of a helicopter in terms of taking off without requiring a huge runway. Its mission is to “liberate towns and cities from today’s congestion and pollution, with people able to come and go freely, vastly expanding the radius of their everyday lives”. Lilium explains.
The original Lilium concept was first conceived in Glasgow in 2013, with the firm quickly moving to half-scale prototype testing within just two years. Eventually, Lilium hopes to create a “large network of small and inexpensive landing pads and central places in cities will allow you to quickly enter an aircraft anytime and fly anywhere you want.”
The lightweight flying-car is powered by 36 electric jet engines mounted on its wings via 12 moveable 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.
The Jet is 100 percent electrically powered. It doesn’t need much space to take off either, since it launches vertically, and will make less noise than a motorcycle.
Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand. “We have solved some of the toughest engineering challenges in aviation to get to this point,”
“The successful test flight programme shows that our ground-breaking technical design works exactly as we envisioned. We can now turn our focus to designing the five-seater production aircraft.”
Watch the inaugural test flight below