Thursday, May 23, 2024

Lilium to launch its first US hub for flying taxis in Orlando, Florida

Lilium – the Munich-based aviation company developing an all-electric, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet aircraft, Tavistock Development Company, and the City of Orlando had announced the country’s first urban and regional air mobility network as well as Lilium’s first US network location. The center, which will start operations in 2025, would be Lilium’s second after a similar Vertiport planned in Duesseldorf, capital of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia.

The new Vertiport in Orlando will include eight air taxi takeoffs and landings. It is assumed that thanks to air taxis, it will be possible to significantly reduce the time it takes to travel from Orlando to nearby cities. In particular, a flying taxi can cover the distance from Orlando to Tampa in 30 minutes, which currently means roughly an hour and a half of driving.

Lilium partners with Tavistock development and City of Orlando to establish first region in the US.
Lilium partners with Tavistock development and City of Orlando to establish first region in the US. Credit: Lilium

The roughly 5,200-square-foot building would be completed in Orlando, Florida, and if all goes according to plan, a five-person electric flying taxi would carry passengers from 2025 onwards. Lake Nona’s central location provides the opportunity to connect more than 20 million Floridians within a 186-mile radius. Also, because there is no runway, the cost of a Vertiport is far lower than a traditional airport.

Five years ago, Lilium Aviation in Germany began developing a flying taxi, and since then, work has progressed very well. The plans for the Lilium Jet were first introduced to the public in 2016 and have undergone flight tests. If approved for service, it would offer travelers a way to skip traffic and quickly reach their destinations for around the cost of an Uber.

The fixed-wing aircraft, powered by 36 electric engines which point down for takeoff and tilt to the rear for horizontal flight, would be steered by a qualified pilot. The aircraft can travel further and faster with distances of up to 186 miles (300km) within one hour on a single charge. According to Chief Operating Officer Remo Gerber, it’s a hundred times safer than helicopters; also, the pricing is five to 10 times cheaper.

The vertiport locations are subject to approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and other regulatory agencies. The Lilium jet is under certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA and will operate under existing regulatory frameworks.