Lilium releases new footage of air taxi as it completes early flight testing and builds first manufacturing facility

Lilium

MUNICH 22 October 2019: Lilium, the Munich-based startup developing a revolutionary on-demand air mobility service, has today released new footage of its all-electric Lilium Jet as it celebrates completing its first phase of flight testing, a milestone it has reached less than six months since starting its flight test campaign.

The Lilium Jet, the world’s first five-seater, all-electric, vertical take-off and landing jet, was revealed to the world in May 2019 and since then has been put through its paces at an airfield in southern Germany. The emissions-free aircraft, which will be able to complete journeys of up to 300 km in one hour on a single charge, has now been flown at speeds exceeding 100 km/h, in increasingly complex maneuvers.

The new footage reveals, for the first time, the aircraft transitioning from vertical flight to level flight. This signature maneuver, first completed just weeks after the aircraft’s maiden flight, is one of aerospace’s greatest challenges and is what gives the Lilium Jet its significant range advantage, with its two sets of wings contributing to much higher levels of efficiency than in aircraft lifted solely by rotors.

With a range of 300 km, the Lilium Jet will be capable of completing much longer journeys than the vast majority of its competitors, allowing it to connect entire regions rather than just making short trips across a single city.

The release of the footage came as the company also celebrated the completion of its first dedicated manufacturing facility, an important step towards preparing the company for serial production of the Lilium Jet.

The first manufacturing facility, a 3,000 square meter space located at the company’s headquarters, will soon be complemented by a second, much larger, facility which is already under construction at the same site. Combined, they will support Lilium’s aim of producing hundreds of aircraft a year by the time commercial services begin in 2025.

Lilium also announced an addition to its Senior Management Team, with Airbus veteran Yves Yemsi joining the team as Chief Program Officer, having worked as Head of Program Quality for the highly successful Airbus A350 aircraft.

Commenting on these milestones, Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO, said: “It’s been thrilling to watch the Lilium Jet progress so rapidly and to see our first flying taxi manufacturing facility. We are taking tangible and concrete steps towards making our vision of regional air mobility a reality and we’re doing it on time.

“We believe that regional air mobility has the potential to be a remarkable force for good in society and we can’t wait for what comes next.”

Lilium

The Lilium Jet and flight testing

The Lilium Jet prototype first took to the skies at 08.03 local time on 4th May 2019. Powered by 36 all-electric jet engines, the aircraft has zero operating emissions and requires less than 10% of its maximum 2000 horsepower during horizontal cruise flight thanks to the lift generated by having two sets of wings.

Since its maiden flight, which featured a simple vertical take-off and landing, the aircraft has been undertaking increasingly complex maneuvers and longer flights. Having successfully completed more than 100 different ground and flight tests, the first phase of testing culminated with a flight that saw the aircraft travel at speeds exceeding 100 km/h.

During the first phase of testing, the aircraft also successfully completed a range of safety tests, including engine failures and flap failures, as well as fuse-blow-tests on the ground and in the air.

The aircraft, which is controlled remotely from the ground, will now move on to its second phase of testing which will look specifically at how it performs at high speeds.

With a top speed of 300 km/h the Lilium Jet is expected to shortly become the fastest all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the world.

Commenting on the successful completion of the first phase of flight testing, Leandro Bigarella, Head of Flight Test, said: “The Lilium Jet continues to meet our expectations, delivering excellent in-flight performance and remarkably smooth transition from vertical to horizontal flight.

“That said, we take a relentless approach to improvement and, like any good testing program, we have had the chance to implement a number of refinements to the aircraft along the way.

“We are now moving into a critical stage of testing as we prepare for high speed operations and eventual certification by the relevant authorities.”

 

New production facilities

Speaking about the new production facilities at the company’s headquarters in southern Germany, Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO, said: “Our ambition is to develop a world-class production facility here that will allow us to build critical parts ourselves and then deliver fully-assembled aircraft at the scale of the automotive sector but at the extremely high quality levels required in the aerospace sector.

“Having considered many locations to produce our first Lilium Jets, we felt our location in the heart of Europe was best suited to our needs, given the strength of the local aerospace supply chain.

“Having our production facility co-locate with our headquarters also makes sense at this point in our development, allowing us to maintain the rapid pace at which we are developing the Lilium Jet, from innovation through to engineering and manufacturing.”

Today, Lilium employs more than 350 people at its base in Munich, with more than 150 roles currently available across a range of disciplines. The new production facilities are expected to create up to 500 new jobs between now and 2025.

 

Yves Yemsi hired to lead aircraft program

In addition to putting in place the physical infrastructure required to deliver serial production, Lilium has also recently hired industry veteran Yves Yemsi to oversee the Lilium Jet aircraft program. As Chief Program Officer, Yves will also lead strategic procurement activities for the company.

Over the past 15 years Yves has performed a wide range of roles at Airbus, most recently as a Senior Vice President, leading Procurement for their Defence and Space division. Prior to this he was the Head of Program Quality for the highly successful Airbus A350 aircraft, which has seen industry-leading levels of reliability.

Yves’ appointment complements the existing production team at Lilium, led by Chief Manufacturing Officer, Dirk Gebser, who also joined Lilium from Airbus, having led the assembly of the A380 and A320 aircraft.

The hiring of this role completes Lilium’s Senior Management Team, following the arrival of Christopher Delbrück, formerly Chief Financial Officer at Uniper, as CFO earlier this year.

Commenting on his appointment, Yves Yemsi, Chief Program Officer, said: “I’m extremely excited to be joining another iconic aerospace company and look forward to playing my part in revolutionizing this industry. In my time at Airbus I contributed to developing the most stringent quality standards for a brand new aircraft and I look forward to doing the same at Lilium.”

Source: Lilium

Volocopter air taxi flies over Singapore’s Marina Bay

VTOL Volocopter

Singapore, 22 October 2019 – Volocopter, the pioneer in Urban Air Mobility (UAM), successfully completed its first manned flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay today. This was the last trial of a demanding test series to verify and validate the ability of Volocopter air taxis to fly over the area. Government authorities including the Ministry of Transport (MOT), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), and the Economic Development Board (EDB) supported Volocopter in this testing phase and will continue to do so in the future. This flight kicks-off Volocopter’s efforts to bring commercial air taxi services to Singapore.

“A 2X model of the company’s test series flown by a pilot onboard was used. The flight covered a distance of approximately 1.5 km and lasted for two minutes at an average cruising height of 40 m. 

“The flight today in Singapore was the most advanced Volocopter flight yet and the piloted flight was as stable as ever. At the same time, we are showcasing a prototype of our full-scale VoloPort Infrastructure, allowing for a realistic demonstration of air taxi boarding and maintenance services. Never before have people been this close to experiencing what Urban Air Mobility in the city of tomorrow will feel like,” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter.

Leading up to the flight, the aircraft had undergone intensive testing in Germany for several months. Following which, a rigorous flight test program to verify the Volocopter 2X aircraft performance under local environment was conducted at Seletar Airport in accordance with CAAS.

“Since late 2018, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has been working with Volocopter to facilitate this flight in Singapore. The Volocopter team went through a series of stringent evaluations to ensure that all the necessary safety requirements were met before the flight was allowed to take place. By working closely with companies such as Volocopter, we hope to facilitate innovations for beneficial uses whilst ensuring aviation and public safety,” said Mr. Ho Yuen Sang, Director (Aviation Industry) from CAAS.

“Volocopter’s decision to testbed its innovative air taxi in Singapore is testament to the opportunities and environment that Singapore provides. The Singapore Economic Development Board hopes to be an enabling partner for companies developing new mobility technologies such as autonomous vehicles and urban aerial mobility. We are happy to support Volocopter in their development plans and hope that this is a first step towards the creation of more exciting business and job opportunities in Singapore,” said Mr. Tan Kong Hwee, Assistant Managing Director, EDB.

At the ITSWC, Volocopter and their partner Skyports built the first VoloPort prototype on the floating dock in Marina Bay. VoloPorts are the only physical infrastructure required for air taxis and they are one important step to commencing operations in cities. They are designed to provide passengers with a seamless air taxi experience that is safe, secure, and integrated into existing infrastructure.

Volocopter opened an office in Singapore in January 2019 and has started to build up a local team to support South East Asia expansion plans. The company has recently presented their VoloCity – the next generation eVTOL air taxi which is designed to comply with EASA requirements. With their recently announced Series C funding round the company will bring the VoloCity to commercial certification.

About Volocopter GmbH:

Volocopter is building the world’s first sustainable and scalable urban air mobility business to bring affordable air taxi services to megacities worldwide. With the VoloCity, the company is developing the first fully electric “eVTOL” aircraft in certification to safely and quietly transport passengers within cities. Volocopter leads and cooperates with partners in infrastructure, operations, and air traffic management to build the ecosystem necessary to ‘Bring Urban Air Mobility to Life’.

In 2011, Volocopter performed the first-ever manned flight of a purely electric multicopter and has since showcased numerous public flights with its full-scale aircraft. The most notable have been the flight at the CES 2018 in Las Vegas and the world’s first autonomous eVTOL flight in Dubai 2017.

Founded in 2011 by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel, Volocopter has 150 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich, and Singapore. The company is managed by CEO Florian Reuter, CTO Jan-Hendrik Boelens, and CFO Rene Griemens, and has raised a total of 85 million euro in equity. Volocopters‘s investors include Daimler, Geely, Intel Capital, BtoV, and Manta Ray Ventures. Find out more at: www.volocopter.com

Source: Volocopter

SAS JOINS NORDIC INITIATIVE FOR ELECTRIC AVIATION

SAS joins Nordic initiative for electric aviation

A Nordic initiative to drive the development of electric aircraft is now being launched. Funded by Nordic Innovation (an organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers), a platform is created where SAS together with other Nordic players gather.

“We will be a Nordic network that works with both infrastructure, industry issues and new business models,” says Maria Fiskerud, project manager for The Nordic Network for Electric Aviation (NEA).

The NEA network will organize workshops and other events to build knowledge and cooperation in the Nordic countries. At present, the network has eleven members (Air Greenland, Avinor, Braathens Regional Airlines, El-fly AS, Finnair, Heart Aerospace, Iceland Air, NISA (Nordic Innovation Sustainable Aviation), RISE, SAS and Swedavia).

“The transition to sustainable air travel is existential to us and the aviation industry. Therefore, it is vital to exchange knowledge with other stakeholders to gain speed in the development of electric aircraft for commercial use. We have high ambitions for our sustainability work and we already collaborate with Airbus, among others, regarding the electrification of aviation,” says Lars Andersen Resare, Head of Environment and CSR at SAS.

A Nordic initiative to drive the development of electric aircraft is now being launched. Funded by Nordic Innovation (an organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers), a platform is created where SAS together with other Nordic players gather.

There are four focus areas with clear objectives for driving the growth of electric aircraft: to Standardize electric air infrastructure in the Nordic countries, to Develop business models for regional point-to-point connectivity between Nordic countries, to Develop aircraft technology for Nordic weather conditions, and to Create a platform for European and global collaborations.

Source: SAS