World's First All-Electric, Vertical Take-Off and Landing Jet
Munich-based aviation start-up Lilium has successfully tested a two-seat prototype of its all-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) jet for the first time. The company's mission is to "enable a world where everybody can fly anywhere, anytime." A VTOL jet has the benefits of being able to take off without requiring a large runway and once airborne, it can still achieve high speeds. Lilium says the jet reaches speeds of 186 mph. The jet consists of a rigid winged body with 12 flaps, each carrying three electric jet engines. Depending on the flight mode, the flaps tilt from a vertical into a horizontal position. At take-off, all flaps are tilted vertically, so that the engines can lift the aircraft. Once airborne, the flaps gradually tilt into a horizontal position, leading the aircraft to accelerate. When they have reached complete horizontal position, all lift necessary to stay aloft is provided by the wings as on a conventional airplane. The engines have only one moving part - the central shaft of the rotor holding both the fan in the front and the magnets of the electric motor.