Lilium Jet Air Taxis: Uber for the skies, in the future  

Lilium Jet Air Taxis: Uber for the skies, in the future  

Do you recall the story about flying automobiles, notably the Lilium Jet, that we published a few years ago? Now that the Lilium Jet has successfully completed its first flight, Munich-based company Lilium is making preparations to launch an air taxi service that will operate in cities all over the globe by 2025. No jet has ever successfully switched from hover mode to horizontal flight and returned until that first flight. Following that first success, the business secured $100 million USD to finance the jet’s development and is now working on the Series B model.

Lilium wants to provide an app-based, pay-per-ride service similar to Uber that would allow users to travel between cities at a fast pace and without having to deal with traffic. Frank Stephenson, the head of product design for the company, claims that for $36 passengers can travel from downtown Manhattan, New York, to JFK Airport in six minutes. This is a far cry from the eight dollars it would take to get there by subway and more than fifty dollars to get there by taxi.

Technical details
A battery-powered electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is the Lilium Jet. Lilium claims that it has a range of 186 miles (300 km) and can fly at speeds of up to 186 mph (300 km/h). There are plans to build a five-seater vehicle, however the present model only accommodates two people. Although it is intended to be completely autonomous, it must first pass certification procedures like a piloted aircraft.

Its vertical takeoff and landing are powered by thirty-six electric ducted fans, which gives it a level of safety that many other aircraft lack—if one or more of the fans fail, there are still enough of others to keep it in the air. It contains a parachute that could be released to gently bring the whole aircraft to earth if too many of the fans were to fail. Similar to an aircraft, the jet employs its wings to provide lift during horizontal flight, reducing the amount of time it has to depend on its fans for propulsion.

The environmental friendliness of this aircraft was a major design consideration. It is an all electric car, meaning it emits no pollutants. Furthermore, since its fans are silent, it won’t add to noise pollution as gas-powered automobiles and other aircraft do.

Possible difficulties
According to reports, Lilium has started the process of obtaining certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency and will shortly complete the same procedure with the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States. But, approval could take a lot longer for eVTOL aircraft than for comparable air taxi services that don’t employ vertical takeoff and landing since eVTOL is a new category for aircraft. (There are more than a hundred additional electric aircraft companies worldwide.) As an alternative to certifying the jet to go anywhere, as is typically done for other aircraft, one suggested method to reduce the certification time is to certify it for specified routes, such as from point A to point B (for example, downtown Manhattan to JFK).

Getting authorization to fly in the United States will be crucial for the company since there are so many helipads and airfields already in place. Lilium would need a lot less money for infrastructure if it could use them. However, given the nation’s stringent aviation laws, this could be difficult. However, the plane has previously shown interest in operating in Dubai and Sao Paulo, so it could be able to begin operating in other regions before to the United States.

Lastly, Pat Anderson, an expert in electric propulsion and aeronautical engineering, has voiced doubts on the aircraft’s capacity to carry five people and its ability to go as quickly and far as Lilium promises. Either way, individuals who are interested in this field of transportation are waiting for Series B to wrap up to determine whether or not Lilium can live up to its expectations.


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