Lilium Personal Electric Jet Would Make For A Better Commute
While self-driving technology continues to work its way into our automobiles, and is pushed as the solution to all the problems, there are those who are keen on the idea of skipping terrestrial transportation altogether. The engineers and doctoral students from the Technical University of Munich that founded Lilium Aviation in 2015 are among those people, and their idea is to bring personal air travel to the masses with the Lilium Jet. This is not some pie-in-the-sky idea that fits in with some unattainable utopian vision of the future, this is a concept very much grounded in reality. The aircraft is to be a two seat electric engine VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) that is capable of speeds up to 250 mph. The 435-horsepower rechargeable-battery-powered ducted fan engines will make the jet significantly quieter than a helicopter, and allow for take off in spaces as small as 49x49', although, flights will only be permitted from designated airfields when they first go to market. With a range of 300 miles on a single charge, and cruising speed of 180 miles per hour, the Lilium Jet would be a game changer for those who wish to live further away from their work place, pop out to their country estate for lunch, or make escaping the impending zombie apocalypse a snap, so long as the sun is still up. RELATED: $700,000 Cobalt Valkyrie is the Prettiest Personal Plane Around
Yes, there are limitations, of course there are limitations. The Lilium Jet is designed for recreational flight during daylight hours, and it should fall in the Light Sport Aircraft class in Europe, which means you'll need a pilot license, which means a minimum 20 hours of training. That might not seem like a whole lot of time to become knowledgeable enough to operate such a machine, but with intelligent computer-control for automatic take-off and landing, the chance of pilot error is significantly reduced. On top of that, redundant battery, engine, and electrical systems will make this a much safer machine to operate than a helicopter.
"Our goal is to develop an aircraft for use in everyday life," says Daniel Wiegand, CEO and one of the company's four founders. "We are going for a plane that can take off and land vertically and does not need the complex and expensive infrastructure of an airport."
The Lilium Jet is being developed in conjunction with the European Space Agency's business incubation center and the group working on it has the ambitious, but not unattainable, goal of a experimental manned flight in a full sized prototype by 2017. Following that, the company expects to get flight certification by 2018 with a fully-airworthy concept, and then ramp up full scale production to bring the aircraft to market. No announcement has been made as far as pricing, but it'll be "far less" than similar sized aircraft, and honestly, can you put a price on feeling like Tom Cruise in Oblivion?
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