Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Lilium announced last week that its Phoenix 2 technology demonstrator has achieved main wing transition during flight testing. According to the company, the eVTOL jet remained stable and behaved as predicted during the shift from hover to wing-borne flight. The company says its flight test campaign, which is scheduled to continue throughout the summer, will now focus on expanding the vehicle’s flight envelope and include transition of the forward canards and high-speed flights.
“Main wing transition is a huge step forward on our path to launch and it validates our Flight Dynamics Model,” said Matthias Meiner, Lilium co-founder and Phoenix chief engineer. “Full credit goes to the outstanding Lilium team who worked so hard to get us here, and who remain laser-focused on the rest of the Flight Test Campaign.”
Lilium began flight testing a two-seat eVTOL jet prototype in 2017 followed by a five-seat model in 2019. The company introduced the seven-seat version in April of last year, noting that it had received a CRI-A01 certification basis from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the model. For the seven-seat Lilium Jet, Lilium is targeting a top speed of up to 300 km/h (162 knots) and planning for it to be capable of routes between 40 and 200 km (22-108 NM) at launch with a goal of eventually extending the range to trips of up to 500 km (270 NM).
Vertical take off, why? Airports are everywhere. VTOL adds huge additional requirements and dramatically increases risks when the inevitable failure occurs. They claim “no operational emissions” which is a complete distortion of reality, ignoring emissions from the production of electricity needed to charge its batteries and to produce the batteries. They claim “sustainable”, a buzz word based on the false premise of limited resources. Julian Simon debunked that decades ago. This battery-powered Rube Goldberg is just the latest creation of left-coast non-thinkers funded by techno-ignoramuses. I predict the same outcome as the ICON A5 and Terrafugia. Lots of hoopla until investor money and government subsidies run out. It all won’t matter anyway with hyperinflation from this disastrous administration.
Not sure if your VTOL question is supposed to be for real… have you heard of helicopters..?
The word “operational” makes perfectly clear what is meant in the context of emissions, there is nothing distorted about it.
“Sustainable” is indeed not as clear cut “green” as oftentimes advertised, but since a large portion of electric energy can be generated from wind and sun it is the right direction to explore what is possible and lay the ground work for next generations.
Lastly, entire books can be filled with famous quotes from technology sceptics who were wrong. I wonder if you can digest all that without digressing into politics again..?
Kent’s political digression was superfluous and not conducive to his argument but his observation, like his argument, was accurate.
Just because we burn coal to make most of our electricity today doesn’t mean that’s the only way to make electricity. Doesn’t even mean it’s the cheapest way to make electricity. The world has plenty of energy from both wind and solar (not just solar panels, but also solar/thermal). All we need is an industrial-sized way to store excess energy when it is available and then consume it when we need it.
‘Sustainable’ is based on the false notion that there is either a shortage of resources or that humans are not creative and productive.
In this case it may have morphed to the disproven theory that humans are causing runaway climate warming which is not and cannot happen. (Check accurate databases of temperature and sea level, and study the basic physics of greenhouse gas spectra which overlap.)
Aww, let the kids play. Sometimes they make cool stuff.
At least they are flying something, among the ‘dime a dozen’ outfits greenwashing.
As for usefulness of VTOL as such the the obvious answer is HELICOPTERS, proven useful for three-quarters of a century or more.
In the late 1940s, Carl Brady formed Economy Pest Control in Yakima WA and Carl Agar and partners formed Okanagan Helicopters in the valley of that name in B.C.
It’s an interesting concept, but possibly overly complicated by so many electric motors. It’s called a “Lilium Jet” when it’s merely an Electric Ducted Fan (EDF).
I wish them well in their endeavors and look forward to a video of the “transition”.
‘Jet’ speaks to marketing focus not dedication to performance.
Good investors are not dumb.
The only problem I have with the concept is the battery power. That aspect can’t work because of the weight, fire hazard, long charge times, short energy duration, and inevitable degradation and loss of what meager range there was when the pack was new.
Hydrogen fuel cell or turbine driven generator would work better, but especially with the latter solution the expense and complexity becomes even more prohibitive.
I think the complexity of a turbine-powered generator onboard powering all of the electric motors might have a payoff if the advantage of distributed propulsion can be achieved. I don’t think we have an example of that yet, but I think it might be possible.
Wondering if anyone can explain the weird looking wing in the photo.