Lilium celebrates successful flight tests and introduces 5-seater VTOL jet
We have incredibly exciting news to share. 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. 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 a 5-seater production aircraft.
The Lilium Jet 5-seater – Your on-demand air taxi
We are now developing a larger, 5-seater version of our Lilium Jet, designed for on-demand air taxi and ridesharing services. A typical journey with the Lilium Jet will be at least 5x faster than by car, with even greater efficiencies in busy cities. So a flight from Manhattan to New York’s JFK Airport will take around 5 minutes, compared to the 55 minutes it would take you by car.
Welcome Meggy Sailer
Today I am very happy to announce that Meggy Sailer has joined Lilium as Head of Recruiting. After more than 5 years at Tesla, Meggy brings excellent experience of staffing a cutting-edge transportation company and will help us grow our staff of specialists in Munich.
She started at Tesla when they were still in their start-up phase themselves. Meggy helped to grow the company from 200 to 13.000 employees in just about three years time, so she knows the pace of a rapidly growing company. Additionally, Meggy knows the field of groundbreaking electric transportation first hand and I am delighted that she’s now shifting her attention to the skies.
At Lilium, she will be responsible for shaping and expanding our workforce from 30 to over 100 employees within this year. Together with her team she will find key talent to build Lilium´s team of top-class engineers and like-minded, passionate colleagues.
Speaking of finding the best people: if you are interested in joining Lilium, please take a look at our current job openings.
Lilium raises € 10m from Atomico
Our team at Lilium is thrilled to announce that we have closed a €10m funding round with Atomico, the leading European venture capital firm based in London.
Their support will enable us to continue developing the Lilium Jet, through flight testing beginning in early 2017, towards commercial production. At the same time, we will also be expanding our existing staff of specialists and product engineers.
We are delighted that Atomico’s founder Niklas Zennström will be joining our board, bringing with him extensive experience of building world class companies. Already, we have been impressed by the Atomico team as they assist with critical hiring and developing our go to market strategy.
Atomico is known as a champion of European “deep tech” — companies that bring together specialist knowledge and skills with the vision and determination to solve the world’s biggest problems.
Our cities are heading for perpetual gridlock, choked by an ever growing number of cars — 1.2 billion today, rising to an estimated 2bn by 2035.
Moving to electric vehicles may stem the flow of harmful emissions, but it will make not one bit of difference to congestion.
In founding Lilium we looked to the skies for an answer.
Even as we engaged with the technical challenge of creating a zero-emission, electrically powered aircraft, capable of vertical take-off and landing in urban areas, we understood that the implications of such technology were far greater than just taking cars off our roads.
The look and feel of our towns and cities is hugely influenced by our transport infrastructure. The space we use to park our vehicles is so much less than the endless roads that we move them around on. That changes when we are able to simply rise into the air.
Today, if we want to travel further and faster, we have to make our way to airports on the outskirts of our cities. But what happens when we have micro landing pads right in the middle of built-up areas? When the fastest transport is also the most accessible and flexible.
At that point, the nature of commuting changes fundamentally. With the Lilium Jet, the radius of our lives will be enlarged 3x. Escaping to the country will mean a 15 minute flight, rather than a two hour drive or stop-start train journey.
We will be able to work where we need to and live where we want to, with none of the gruelling compromise required today. House prices will adjust accordingly, as town and country compete on a level-playing field.
This is a future that we believe should be open to everyone.
We will see businesses spring up around the Lilium Jet, offering air taxi services and other new models of transportation. Lilium passengers of tomorrow are the people using ride-hailing and car sharing apps today, not private jets.
It is an exciting vision of the way our world could be. We hope that when everyone sees the amazing progress we are making on the Lilium Jet, they’ll understand that we’re already well on our way.
Introducing the future of transport
Today is a special day for us. We are giving the first glimpse into Lilium and the Lilium Jet. And you are the very first to know! Over the last few months, we have received many questions from you and we want to use these newsletters to answer them all, one by one. So stay tuned and enjoy!
The question we have been asked most frequently is:
Does the Lilium Jet fly yet?
The Lilium Jet is still waiting in the wings for its maiden flight, but many of our smaller-scale prototypes have flown successfully and validated our revolutionary design. Each test has led us to new findings, which have helped us optimize each subsequent prototype.
It all started with the “Gleiter”
He was the very first to fly. The “Gleiter” is made out of chipboard, foil and lots of cables. His name means glider, because we had to launch him by throwing him like a paper glider.
And then there was “Hexa”
It was our first authentic VTOL aircraft, with 6 tiltable electric ducted fans and VTOL flight software on board. Made from chipboard and foil, Hexa was a 10 day hackathon project, built in the living room of co-founder Sebastian.
Please, meet the “Dragon”
He is entirely 3D printed, even down to his fans, which makes him quick to rebuild. Accordingly, he is our go-to prototype for all initial software tests and fun flights. He is a 1:5 scale model of the ultimate Lilium Jet, and the first prototype to demonstrate seamless transition flights from hover to cruise mode and back using the final design concept of the Lilium Jet. He is a very passionate character, but melts away in the sun, so we gave him a coat of white paint.
This is our “Falcon”
He is half the size of the final Lilium Jet and is made out of carbon fiber. The Falcon has 36 engines, as well as an on-board computer, which we analyze and calibrate continuously for his big brother. Having completed some rigorous flight testing, he is perched in our workshop watching an even bigger bird grow…
How much can I buy it for?
Well, we could simply give you a number — and a number is already out there somewhere — but we don’t aim at simply selling it. Sure, in the beginning there will be excited pilots and aviation and green mobility enthusiasts interested in purchasing the Lilium Jet for themselves. However, we believe in a completely new way of commuting for everybody. In order to get there, we aim for a shared air-taxi service for everyone, orderable via an App. We will tell you more about it in a future Newsletter.
How does it fly?
To achieve the goal of simple electric vertical take-off and landing, coupled with long range flight and low noise, we’ve invented an entirely new VTOL aircraft concept. The 600kg two-seater will be lifted vertically by 36 electric ducted fan engines. With the fan engines directed downwards, the jet hovers and climbs until the fans are turned backwards slowly, which transitions the plane into forward flight. Once the engines are oriented horizontally the aircraft flies like a normal plane with the wings and fuselage creating aerodynamic lift, while the flaps with engines act as steering surfaces. As a pilot you won’t have to worry about controlling the flaps. You simply push the throttle stick forward and the on-board computer controls all engines and flaps. There is a seamless transition from hover into cruise flight and you can perform turns in any flight state in between. The electric jet engines always provide for a smooth flight making flying in a Lilium Jet the most comfortable way of travelling.
What makes it so safe?
Safety has been the top priority from day one of Lilium’s development. We’ve incorporated the concept of what we call ‘ultra redundancy’. The aircraft is designed such that it does not have a single point of failure, which means any component can fail in any flight condition and the aircraft will always be able to do an ordinary vertical landing automatically. The objective behind this concept is to make flying a Lilium Jet as simple as driving an electric car. At the same time, we provide an unprecedented level of safety both through a failure-tolerant aircraft and through avoiding pilot errors in stressful situations. For the duration of the flight, the software’s Flight Envelope Protection system rejects unsafe pilot commands. No matter what you do as a pilot, the system will always maintain safe flight conditions. Additionally, the Jet is equipped with a whole-aircraft parachute.