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Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Germany's Lilium says successfully tests "flying taxi" prototype

Germany's Lilium says successfully tests

In flight tests, a two-seat prototype executed maneuvers that included a midair transition from hover mode, like a drone, to wing-borne flight, like a conventional aircraft, Lilium said. The flight lasted but a few minutes, and was unmanned and piloted from the ground, but it's still an important milestone for Lilium Aviation: it proved that their aircraft can fly.

Slovakian firm AeroMobil said at a vehicle show in Monaco on Thursday that it would start taking pre-orders for a hybrid flying auto that can drive on roads. Once the aircraft has reached the proper height, it slowly tilts its flaps to a horizontal position, at which point the craft can move forward. Today, the firm debuted a video that shows its prototype making its first successful test flight. The jet is powered by 36 separate engines mounted to 10-meter long wings.

In addition, Lilium says that the motor nacelles are individually shielded to prevent one failure affecting the others, that the power cells are created to allow for continued flight and a safe landing if the battery conks out, and the company's Flight Envelope Protection System is created to reject a pilot's commands if they would pose a safety risk. "We can now turn our focus to designing a 5-seater production aircraft".

Lilium said: "We will see businesses spring up around the Lilium Jet, offering air taxi services and other new models of transportation". To put into perspective, it only takes 5 minutes for the Lilium Jet to travel from JFK International Airport to Manhattan, New York, which ordinarily takes about an hour in a taxi or a vehicle.

Due to the low-priced of operation, Lilium Jet actually plans to cover routes generally made by cars - but at least 5x faster.

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