Germany’s Lilium made a successful unmanned first flight of the full-scale prototype of its five-seat, electric jet powered urban air mobility (UAM) air taxi on May 4 in Munich, the company announced Thursday. Lilium’s head of test flight, Leandro Bigarella, said the Lilium Jet “performed exactly as expected and responded well to our inputs.”
The aircraft is powered by 36 electric motors that allow it to take off and land vertically with zero operating emissions. Lilium said it has begun a certification flight campaign and plans to certify the aircraft to “commercial standards,” although no country has yet published any certification regulations covering these vehicles. Designed with wings, the aircraft uses less than 10 percent of its maximum 2,000 horsepower during cruise flight, has a maximum speed of 162 knots, and a range of 162 nm, Lilium said.
"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,” said company CEO Daniel Wiegand. Lilium first flew a two-seat prototype in 2017. It expects its five-seater to be fully operational and in commercial service as an on-demand air taxi by 2025. To date, the company has attracted investment of $100 million and employs 300.