The first prototype of the Lilium Jet eVTOL aircraft was badly damaged in a fire during maintenance work on February 27. The company confirmed that the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and will now be replaced in the flight-test program by a second prototype that was not damaged in the incident at Oberpfaffenhofen Airport in southern Germany.
A Lilium spokesman told AIN that it might take a few weeks to understand the root cause of the fire. He said that the company had, in any case, planned to start using the second prototype for flight testing and retire the first example. No one was injured in the fire.
The all-electric, five-seat Lilium Jet is being developed mainly for air-taxi services, with operations targeted to start in 2025. The vectored thrust design features 36 ducted fans in the wing and forward canard, with a projected range of up to 186 miles and speeds of 161 knots.
This is the second electric aircraft prototype to catch fire in a little over a month. On January 22, the first example of Eviation’s Alice fixed-wing aircraft was destroyed in a fire that started in a ground-based battery system.