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German start-up Lilium test flights 2-seater jet prototype

It is planning to build a 5-seater jet.

By CBR Staff Writer

Germany based start-up Lilium has completed a test flight of its prototype 2-seater jet over Bavarian skies and announced that it is developing a 5-seater jet that will be designed for on-demand air taxi and ridesharing services.

According to the company, its 2-seater Eagle prototype performed a range of complex maneuvers during the test flight, including mid-air transition from hover mode to wing-borne forward flight.

Lilium said: “We have solved some of the toughest engineering challenges in aviation to get to this point.

“The successful test flight programme shows that our ground-breaking technical design works exactly as we envisioned. We can now turn our focus to designing a 5-seater production aircraft.”

The 5-seater jet to be developed by the company is expected to travel at least five times faster than a car, with improved efficiency in busy cities.

A travel by the jet from Manhattan to New York’s JFK Airport could take around five minutes compared to 55 minutes journey by a car.

In December last year, the start-up received €10m in funding from the London-based European venture capital firm Atomico.

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The funding was expected to enable the company to continue developing the Lilium Jet, with flight testing beginning in early 2017, towards commercial production.

Lilium said: “We will see businesses spring up around the Lilium Jet, offering air taxi services and other new models of transportation. Lilium passengers of tomorrow are the people using ride-hailing and car sharing apps today, not private jets.”

Founded in 2014 by four graduates from the Technical University of Munich, Lilium is backed by investors who include Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom.

Its potential rivals include Airbus, Slovakian firm AeroMobil and crowd-funded eVolo, Reuters reported.

Airbus, a manufacturer of commercial airliners and helicopters, plans to test a prototype self-piloted, single-seat “flying car” later this year.

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