As an electric car, but without traffic jams

Gilching, 15 December 2016

Although still not all car fans and petrol heads are convinced: electric cars are really the future. But even if they produce no emissions, the parking shortage and the congestion problem can be so not. Why not therefore go into the air, has asked themselves a start-up company in Gilching near Munich and devised an electric airplane: the Lilium Jet.

Whiz with 36 small propellers

A prototype of the Lilium Jets on a scale of one-to-one there already, and smaller models are already successful flights behind. The Lilium Jet has a two-seat cabin and has a size of seven times four metres. 36 electric-powered small propeller with a total capacity of 320 kilowatts or 435 HP is spread over the two wings and two elements left and right. All propeller can be turned down. Launched and landed vertically, so the flyer is a newcomer (VTOL, vertical take-off and landing). Therefore, you do not need a runway. Instead there should be small landing sites in the inner cities in the future, by which one can travel directly, without going through an airport: shopping in Milan and in the evening for dinner after Marseille have breakfast in Munich.

300 km range

What is the outer shell of the aircraft, does not reveal Lilium. However, the plane weighs only 400 kilos. With the maximum load capacity of 200 kg, a takeoff weight of under 600 kilos arises. In flight, the Jet to reach a speed of 250 to 300 km/h, the batteries should suffice for 300 kilometres. Information capacity in kilowatt hours and charging are still missing.

Used as air taxi or as sharing vehicle

And this thing will cost? You know the approximate amount in Lilium though, but you will not necessarily sell the aircraft to private individuals, but rather to other companies, who use it like a car sharing car or a taxi just in the air. The Lilium commuter vehicle for everyone to be so. So you could save also the expensive rents in the city.

So easy to navigate as a car

The operation will be no more complicated than a car. You just press the throttle forward, and the electronics automatically controls the 36 engines and the rudder. The plane is to continuously move from upward hover to horizontal flight, which also curves are possible. The computer also ensures that unsafe maneuvers just not implemented by the pilot. The vehicle under adverse circumstances should you can also always still vertically land. But is necessary to fly is expected to a so-called LSA ticket. The acronym stands for lights sport aircraft, a new class of aircraft, which are still the flying light weights heavier than are ultra light aircraft, but with 600 kg take-off weight.

Ten million euro budget

Lilium aviation was 2015 by four engineers and product designers founded TU Munich. Today, the team has over 35 employees. The company is financed through a London venture capital firm called Atomico which has recently provided 10 million euros for the development. You want to start and with the project further move towards commercial production beginning 2017 with flight tests. (sl)