Making big advancements, the new Lilium eVTOL makes use of 30 tilting jet fans
The Munich-based Lilium debuted their new Lilium eVTOL at the UK Farnborough air show last month, emphasizing their partnership with Diehl Aviation, a major provider of aircraft systems and cabin designs to aerospace behemoths including Airbus and Boeing. The Bristow Group, one of the first investors in helicopters, and Lilium have also partnered to create a maintenance plan for Lilium’s future aircraft.
Founded in 2015, Lilium established itself as a major force in the eVTOL and air mobility industries. A long number of partners, including Azul, Honeywell, Expliseat, Livent, Aernnova, ABB, NetJets, and Ferrovial, have already signed partnerships with Lilium. Together with Bristow Group, Lilium signed an agreement that will allow Bristow Group to purchase 50 Lilium Jets and maintain Lilium’s launch network throughout North America and Europe.
Lilium’s fifth-generation prototype, Phoenix 2, was spotted above Villacarrillo, Spain, back in April. A new Lilium eVTOL named Phoenix 3 will be present at the site this summer. According to the company, the new demonstrators will lead to a much quicker flight-test program.
The 36 “jets” that make up Lilium’s proposed solution are electric fans that are dispersed over four wings. That number will eventually decrease to 30. To produce both vertical and horizontal thrust, the jets pivot in banks. Additionally, each fan has a flap to direct the force. Because of its wings, it can move ahead while using only a fraction of the energy needed to go vertically.
Lilium went with the canard configuration on its wing design. It’s an arrangement that’s preferred by US aircraft designer Burt Rutan, who also created the pioneering SpaceShipOne and the world-circling Voyager. The new Lilium eVTOL has fore and aft wings that create lift. In forward flight, the main wings provide 60% of the lift. The smaller canard wings supply 20% and the fuselage provides the remaining 20%.
Due to its efficiency, the new New Lilium eVTOL can connect city centers that are 150 miles apart at a max speed of 300 mph. Compared to the shorter-range intra-urban air-taxis by Lilium’s rivals, regional air-space infrastructures work better with Lilium’s approach to regional air transportation.
Klaus Roewe, an Airbus executive, also joined Lilium just two weeks ago as chief executive. Roewe oversaw the development of the A320 and A320Neo. Chairman of Lilium and a former CEO of Airbus, Tom Enders, now sits beside him on the board. Daniel Wiegand, a co-founder of Lilium and its previous CEO, will remain a director and serve as the company’s chief engineer for innovation and future initiatives.