The Magnificent eVTOL Jet, Lilium Jet
During the first flight of a fully operational Lilium Jet technology demonstrator on May 4, 2019, the Lilium Jet made its debut. 2015 saw the first flight of a 1:2 scale model, and April 2017 saw the first flight of a larger scale technology demonstrator.
Flight testing for the first phase of the project was completed by the German company on October 22, 2019. Pilots performed a variety of maneuvers, including a transition from vertical to horizontal flight at speeds exceeding 62 mph (100 km/h). During maintenance work, Lilium's technology demonstrator was destroyed by fire on February 27, 2020. In addition to the first technology demonstrator, the company started building a second one. Due to the Covid pandemic, Lilium has not been able to determine when flight testing will begin again as of September 2020.
According to Lilium's business plan, the aircraft will be certified and ready to operate in several cities around the world by 2025. In June 2019, it announced plans to establish its main software engineering team in London, mainly to deal with the software development requirements for its plans to operate and commercialize on-demand air taxi service.
Airbus, where some of its senior leaders previously worked, has devised program management systems for the company. Each key point in the program is reviewed by stage-gate processes to ensure quality standards are met. As part of this effort, suppliers are also actively involved in ensuring that their contributions meet the same standards and are on track to meet certification and production requirements.
A total of 500 people work for the company as of September 2020, most of whom are engineers. Approximately 35 PhDs and 40 nationalities make up the Lilium team. The ramp-up of production has already been assigned to about 90 of these people.
It is powered by 36 all-electric engines that are mounted on flaps that allow the wings to be tilted either vertically or horizontally. A unique feature of the eVTOL design is that there are no tails, no rudders, no variable pitches, no propellers, no gearboxes, no oil circuits, and only one moving part in each engine. As a result of its reduced component count, Lilium argues that the aircraft is safer and more affordable to operate.
A total of $375 million was invested in Lilium as of June 2020. An additional $35 million investment from Baillie Gifford was announced on June 9 as part of a funding round announced in March 2020.
A partnership between Lilium and Toray Industries, a carbon-fiber manufacturer, was announced on July 14, 2020.
The all-electric 787 Dreamliner will be built using Toray materials, known especially for their work on the 787 Dreamliner.