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By Elan Head

An award-winning journalist, Elan is also a commercial helicopter pilot and an FAA Gold Seal flight instructor with helicopter and instrument ratings. Follow her on Twitter @elanhead

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Lilium eVTOL prototype damaged in ground fire

The German eVTOL developer Lilium has confirmed that its first full-scale Lilium Jet demonstrator was substantially damaged in a fire that broke out during ground maintenance activities on Feb. 27 at its headquarters near Munich.

Lilium Jet before fire
With its first full-scale Lilium Jet demonstrator damaged by fire, the company will continue its flight test campaign with its second aircraft. Lilium Photo

“We can confirm that the airport fire brigade attended one of our facilities yesterday following an incident that occurred during regular ground maintenance of one of our demonstrators,” Lilium spokesperson Oliver Walker-Jones told eVTOL.com on Feb. 28.

“Nobody was injured and we are now looking at understanding the cause of the issue.”

Walker-Jones said the incident at the Oberpfaffenhofen airport was reported to Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (Bundesstelle für Flugunfalluntersuchung, or BFU). Meanwhile, he added, “Our second demonstrator was not damaged in the fire and we will continue our flight test campaign with this aircraft once we have fully understood the cause of this incident.”

The fully electric Lilium Jet is being developed as a five-seat air taxi for urban and regional air mobility missions. The vectored thrust aircraft incorporates 36 ducted fans across its main wing and forward canard, and is targeting a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) at speeds of up to 300 km/h.

In October, Lilium shared footage of its first aircraft flying at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph). At the time, the company reported that the remotely piloted aircraft would be moving into its second phase of flight testing, encompassing high-speed envelope expansion.

Lilium’s incident is not the first fire to befall an all-electric aircraft. On Jan. 22, Eviation’s prototype Alice electric regional aircraft was damaged in a fire that broke out during ground testing at Prescott Regional Airport in Arizona.

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  1. We operate hotels in Colorado and looking for shuttle service between Denver airport and the mountains. Keep us informed when we can buy an aircraft. We have no airport but do have helo pad. We have strong winds, and landing stability is a must.

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