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Managing editor Jen Nevans has more than a decade of editorial experience. She is an award-winning writer and editor, receiving numerous accolades for her published articles. Jen is eager to join the team and cover this exciting and growing industry.


Lilium expands flight test program, unveils new design configurations

German startup Lilium is gearing up for its next phase of high-speed flight testing for its fifth-generation Phoenix 2 eVTOL technology demonstrator at the Atlas Flight Test Center in Spain this year.

During a business update call with shareholders, Lilium executives unveiled renderings of alternative cabin configurations catered to various market segments, including a potential premium four-passenger “club cabin,” a six-passenger shuttle cabin, and a cargo cabin. Lilium Image

“The Atlas Flight Test Center provides optimal infrastructure, enabling the aircraft to fly over a large unpopulated area, and this also offers excellent weather conditions in Spain,” said Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium, during the company’s business update call with shareholders on Tuesday. “We expect our final permits to fly from the Spanish authorities to be issued shortly.”

Along with high-speed flight tests, the company is also aiming to expand its flight envelope to include full transition to wing-borne flight. And in a bid to accelerate its flight test campaign, Wiegand said work remains on track for an additional demonstrator — the Phoenix 3 — to start first flight tests in Spain this summer.

Based on findings from its preliminary design review (PDR) that started late last year, Lilium executives also unveiled to shareholders a few notable changes to its design to develop what they call a simpler aircraft with a robust certification path.

Lilium said through a slightly larger and more powerful motor design, the company will reduce the number of motors on its eVTOL from 36 to 30. Wiegand calls this “an incremental change” that won’t negatively impact its path to certification or any work that has been done on its battery testing. 

The company said that the change offers a reduction in the aircraft’s part count, weight, and system complexity, and improves the aircraft’s aerodynamic balance, lowers material and maintenance costs, and improves design flexibility.  

“We have been thinking about a 30-engine configuration over the last few years,” Wiegand said. “But we now feel confident to say that we have all the data we need. We’ve had wind tunnel test campaigns in the last 12 months to confidently make that step and make use of the benefits.”

Executives also unveiled renderings of alternative cabin configurations catered to various market segments, including a potential premium four-passenger “club cabin,” a six-passenger shuttle cabin, and a cargo cabin.

“The cabin configurations we launch at entry into service will be determined by final customer demand, regulatory requirements, and the performance characteristics of the certified aircraft,” Wiegand said. “We continue to evaluate our overall program and launch timeline according to the PDR, and we’ll provide an update at our next business update call in May.” The company said it expects to release design data from its PDR to the supply chain in Q2 2022.  

Partnership with NetJets

In a letter to shareholders, the company also announced a partnership with NetJets, a private jet company that offers a fractional aircraft ownership program for private individuals or business professionals.

Lilium told that the company expects to release more details about its partnership with NetJets in the coming days, but has already told shareholders that its memorandum of understanding with NetJets includes a pre-order of up to 150 Lilium Jets to use for its fractional ownership program in the U.S. and Europe.  

“We believe the private and business professional segments will be highly attractive markets and will drive early adoption of eVTOL aircraft,” the shareholder letter stated. “Importantly, we also see these segments as being a great supplemental business for Lilium, building on our previously announced relationship with Brazilian airline Azul and the planned launch of networks in Florida and Germany.”

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    1. The batteries needed probably don’t exist yet.

      They need a very small onboard fusion reactor to Continuously recharge the batteries to provide infinite range

      1. Don’t know about fusion reactor, but onboard charging technology is only a few years away.

  1. Apparently Andrea Rossi is producing such an item right now: the SKLEP. Deliveries are likely in the next few weeks.

    Been watching this sector for 6 years – there are many similar projects apparently nearing commercial production including Brilliant Light Power and Aureon Energy. Of course, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

  2. “Engine” is incorrect – applies to fuel to power devices (eg ICE petrol fueled) “Motor” converts energy to power as in electric motor. (Ford Motor Co sounded better than Ford Engine company or ‘enginecar maker”) No one (else) refers to electric ‘engines’ and you need MORE of them not less — the miracles spoken of above (fusion power generators and hydrogen engines will still not solve the basic misdesign )

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