Lilium GmbH is a Germany-based start-up co-founded in 2015 by four aerospace engineers and product designers — Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Patrick Nathen and Matthias Meiner — all from the Technical University of Munich (Wessling is a municipality located near Munich, Germany).
The Lilium Falcon is a ½ subscale prototype electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and its first test flight was in 2015. Some key features of the aircraft is that it has independent rotating 36 ducted fans, 36 electric motors, controlled by an on-board computer and its fuselage is made of carbon fiber. It is an uncrewed eVTOL which went through rigorous flight testing to validate the airworthiness of the aircraft for the larger production model, the Lilium Jet.
According to one news article, Lilium designed and made seven subscale prototypes in two years, as precursors to the Lilium Jet. All of the subscale prototypes were flown and tested successfully, but Lilium says its three most important subscale aircraft were the Hexa, Dragon and Falcon prototypes.
When we designed the Lilium Jet we looked at more than 20 existing aircraft concepts but soon realized that none of them would deliver what we wanted. We were searching for levels of efficiency that were close to the limits of physics, delivered in the most simple way.
So instead of tweaking an existing design, we chose to design something from scratch. The result is the Lilium Jet which has no tail, no rudder, no oil circuits, no gearboxes, no variable pitch fan blades and only one moving part in the engines.
Our philosophy has always been that simplicity is key: it makes the aircraft more robust, it makes it safer, it makes it easier to maintain and it lowers the cost to certify, manufacture and operate the aircraft.
— Lilium blog article, May 15, 2019
Lilium plans to both manufacture the Lilium Jet and operate the Lilium Jet as a point-to-point on-demand regional air taxi service where its passengers would be flying within an urban area, within rural areas, from urban to rural areas or from city to city, and increase your Radius of Life - the area in which we our day-to-day life. Lilium states with their aerial ride-sharing operations, a person can increase their Radius of Life by a factor of 25 with on-demand air transportation.
The company has stated that the Lilium Jet will not be for sale to the consumer, this was decided early on when the company was formed. Lilium expects to be fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025, although trial services will start earlier than this in several locations. As of October 2019, Lilium employs more than 350 people, are now hiring more than 150 people and are expected to hire up to 500 new people between now and 2025.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL subscale prototype
- Piloting: Remote controlled
- Capacity: 0 passengers
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Range: Unknown
- Estimated payload: 227 kg (500 lb)
- Propellers: 36 ducted fans
- Electric Motors: 36 electric motors
- Power source: Batteries
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Landing gear: Unknown
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft.