The German developer of the first all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet, Lilium, announced that its technology demonstrator Phoenix 2 has achieved the main wing transition. The company says the eVTOL is the first-ever full-size electric jet aircraft to transition from hover to wing-borne flight. This is a landmark moment for Lilium and for electric aviation as a whole.
Lilium is one of the startups that are racing to develop, certify and manufacture electric aircraft in a bid to revolutionize short-range travel. The company’s fifth-generation Phoenix 2 demonstrator differs from many of Lilium’s eVTOL competitors that fly with tilt-rotor propulsion. Its propulsion system uses a series of 30 battery-powered ducted fans embedded across the aircraft’s wings and forward canards.
From a flight perspective, completing transition means the airflow going over the flaps attaches and becomes smooth. This allows the lift to be generated by the wing as in conventional fixed-wing aircraft rather than by the engines, which is the case during the hovering phase. Phoenix 2 has now achieved this milestone across the entire main wing while, most importantly, remaining stable and behaving as predicted by Lilium’s proprietary Flight Dynamics Model.
“Main wing transition is a huge step forward on our path to launch, and it validates our Flight Dynamics Model. Full credit goes to the outstanding Lilium team who worked so hard to get us here and who remain laser-focused on the rest of the Flight Test Campaign,” said Matthias Meiner, Phoenix Chief Engineer and Lilium Co-Founder of Lilium.
Lilium will continue its Flight Test campaign throughout the summer, expanding the flight envelope further, including the transition of the forward canards and high-speed flights.