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Electric flight taxi for the first time in the air

The matter was settled in seconds. The Lilium Jet lifted off and hovered a few meters above the about 40 seconds long in the same Position, before he landed remote-controlled back to the same place, from which he was lifted.

For the Wesslinger Start-up, Lilium, these 40 seconds were on 4. May at 8.03 PM a breakthrough. For the first Time the prototype flew their electric-powered air taxis Lilium Jet in the air. Now, two weeks later, released the company Details: "The aircraft has behaved excellently, there were no error messages from the systems," says Lilium-founder Daniel Wiegand.

The Lilium Jet is one of the nearly unmanageable many projects in the field of electric aircraft. The consultancy firm Roland Berger estimates that companies have announced since 2009, the development of about 100 such machines in the world. Alone in 2017, it added about 40 new projects. Lilium, however, believed to have a design found, the the other is technically superior, and the area of use dramatically expanded: The Lilium Jet is to be used within large cities, but also for regional flights.

Flies faster than a helicopter

The flight of five seats on the device, and is powered by 36 small electric motors, which are mounted on twelve moving Flaps. The Lilium Jet takes off and lands vertically, but for the cruising flight, the Flaps are moved in the Horizontal. Then he uses the buoyancy of the fuselage and wings, and can fly a lot faster than a helicopter, or Quadcopter, using no wings. Two years ago, Lilium, has brought a two-seater technology demonstrator up in the air. The prototype that flew at the beginning of may and since then, several times, is very close to the future production aircraft already, even if the admission of several other test machines are used.

"The plane is basically a flying battery."Lilium-founder Daniel Wiegand

The Lilium Jet will initially be flown by a single pilot, later, can also be operated autonomously. The aircraft can fly with a single battery charge up to 300 kilometres wide and 300 kilometres an hour. So he has to Wiegands's view, a "unique feature", because he, smaller municipalities that have no ICE-Holding or insufficient roads are connected to the high-speed traffic connect. "This will change the structures," he believes. A flight with the Lilium Jet, ordered via the App on the Smartphone, in the future it may cost as much as a taxi ride, at least when a Pilot is on Board. If the Transition to Autonomous flying is done, then he should not cost as a journey with the own car.

However, there is still a long way to go. 2024 Lilium wants to get the approval of the flight safety authorities. For the first Version with pilot no costly rule changes are necessary in the laws for helicopters and planes to apply Essentially. The fully Autonomous flying, however, is still real music of the future, to a lot of questions around air traffic control are not cleared.

Big ranges possible

for the time being, there is something else but anyway in the forefront: emission-free flying. "The plane is in the proportion of the total weight of the quasi-a flying battery," says Wiegand. The cells are obtained from suppliers, but the battery pack is an internal development. "He is extremely light and has many cells. This enables us to have large ranges," he says. The on-Board battery has a capacity of more than one Megawatt, we don't want to betray Wiegand but. You should large be enough for seven to eight short flights within a large city, four to five minutes of charging for 60 to 70 kilometres of extra range is needed. "In practice, there will be no waiting times due to charging and also no batteries to change," says Wiegand.

Since the first flight, further Tests have taken place, slowly, further flight to maneuver developed. The most difficult Exercise is The Transition from the Start in the route of flight, in which the twelve-Fold with the engines pivoted, as in the case of a so-called tilt-rotor aircraft to the front must be. At the same time, the plane must gain speed and lift on the fuselage and wings, while the vertical force of the engines subsides. All of this must happen without losing height. The function tests to follow the approval and then, in 2025, the first commercial flights. Where? "We are in talks with cities around the world. There also are German," says Wiegand.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 16.05.2019, 21:20 PM

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