When Lilium decided to come up with a vertical take-off and landing vehicle, they didn’t want to follow the trends set by quadcopters, tilt rotors, and tilt wings. Instead, they wanted to create something new and different—and they have. It wasn’t an easy task. They had to challenge physical limitations, mechanical complexity, and energy laws. They were looking for low noise, high speed, emission-free, and low operating cost. What they came up with is pretty ingenious.
The Lilium Jet uses a rigid winged body with 12 flaps. Each flap has three electric jet engines. The flaps either tilt from a vertical or horizontal position. The vertical position enables take-off and landing, while the horizontal acts as propulsion. This approach eliminated the need for gearboxes, foldable or variable pitch propellers, water-cooling, and aerodynamic steering flaps.
The Jet has a 300 km range—that’s enough to fly from London to Paris. And with a top speed of 300 km per hour, not only will you make that trip from London to Paris in one hour, you’ll be travelling at speeds that match a Formula 1 car. Even better, you’ll do so without any emissions or noise pollution (the jet produces less noise than a motorbike).
Lilium’s plan is to make the jet available for order via your smartphone, similar to the Uber model only airborne instead of stuck in traffic. Lilium may have had to rethink a lot of things, but they’ve struck on something that’s simply genius.