The full-scale, full-weight prototype uses 36 all-electric jet engines that allow it to take off and land vertically. The aircraft has no tail, rudder, propellers, or gearbox — its engine is the only moving part.
Lilium claims its Lilium Jet has a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and a range of 300km, owing its relatively long range to its fixed-wing design. The company first completed a test flight of a two-seater prototype in 2017. Lilium has raised $100 million in funding and now has more than 300 employees.
In a statement celebrating the prototype taking to the sky, Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand said,
“Today we are taking another huge step towards making urban air mobility a reality. In less than two years we have been able to design, build and successfully fly an aircraft that will serve as our template for mass production. Moving from two to five seats was always our ambition as it enables us to open up the skies to many more travelers…”
I love the airtaxi idea, and so do all true science fiction fans. Check out the appropriately hyphenated air-taxi from Isaac Asimov's 1988 novel Prequel to Foundation.
Compare to the hoverlimo from John Varley's 1992 novel Steel Beach. Also, see the Tin Cabby from James Blish's 1957 novel Cities in Flight, the gyrocab from You are Forbidden! by Jerry Sheldon, the helical from John Weston's 1950 story The Heli-Cab Hack and the air-car from Harry Bates' 1934 story A Matter of Size.
Lilium has a while before it gets to this visualization of the flying taxicab idea from Fifth Element, the 1997 movie starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich:
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