Sabtu, 17 Desember 2016

Like an electric car, but without congestion


Gilching, 15 December 2016
Even if not all cars and petrol heads are convinced, electric cars are really the future. But even if they do not produce exhaust fumes, the parking problem and the problems of the city can not be solved. So why not go into the air, a start-up company in Gilching near Munich asked for an electric plane: the Lilium Jet.

Vertical starter with 36 small propellers
There is already a prototype of the Lilium Jet on a one-to-one scale, and smaller models have already passed successful flights. The Lilium Jet has a two-seater cabin and has a size of seven by four meters. 36 electrically powered small propellers with a total output of 320 kilowatts or 435 hp are spread over the two wings and two elements left and right. All propellers can also be turned downwards. Started and landed vertically, the plane is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). A runway is not needed. Instead, there should be small landing places in the inner city, from which you can travel directly, without detour via an airport: breakfast in Munich, shopping in Milan and in the evening for dinner in Marseille.

300 kilometers of range
Lilium does not tell what the outer envelope of the airplane is. But the plane weighs only 400 kilos. With the maximum payload of 200 kilos, a starting weight of less than 600 kilos is achieved. In the flight the jet should reach a speed of 250 to 300 km / h, the batteries should be enough for 300 kilometers. Information about capacity in kilowatt hours and recharge is still missing.

Use as airtaxi or as a sharing vehicle
And what will it cost? The Lilium is known for the approximate amount, but you do not want to sell the aircraft to private people, but rather to other companies that use it like a car-sharing car or a taxi - just in the air. Thus the lilium is to become a pendulair for anyone. So you could also save the expensive rents in the big city.

As easy to control as a car
The operation should not be more complicated than with a car. Just push the thrust lever forward, and the electronics control the 36 motors and the rudders automatically. The aircraft is to pass continuously from the uphill into the horizontal flight, whereby also curves are possible. The computer also ensures that unsafe maneuvers are simply not implemented by the pilot. In addition, the vehicle should still be allowed to land vertically even under unfavorable circumstances. However, a so-called LSA ticket is probably necessary for flying. The abbreviation stands for Lightsport Aircraft, a new class of aircraft that are heavier than ultra-light aircraft, but with 600 kilos take-off weight still belong to the flying lightweights.

Ten million euro budget
Lilium Aviation was founded in 2015 by four engineers and product designers from the TU Munich. Today the team has more than 35 employees. The company is financed by a London-based venture capital company named Atomico, which has recently provided ten million euros for the development. At the beginning of 2017, we want to start with flight tests and continue with the project towards commercial production.