FlightSafety International Partners with eVTOL Developer Lilium and NetJets

FlightSafety International partners with fractional aircraft ownership company NetJets and Germany-based Lilium to help train pilots to fly electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxis.

lilium evtol artist rendering

The partnership calls for FlightSafety International to provide Lilium and NetJets with flight simulator training for the Lilium Jet eVTOL. [Courtesy: Lilium]

FlightSafety International is stepping forward to help train pilots that will be needed to fly newly developed electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxis and cargo transports. 

The Ohio-based professional aviation training company announced Tuesday it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Germany-based Lilium (NASDAQ: LILM) and fractional aircraft ownership company NetJets, aimed at training pilots for operations in Florida and elsewhere.

Under the agreement, FlightSafety International will support Lilium operations by providing courseware, immersive and mixed reality flight simulation devices, and crew training. 

“Our focus on technology and adaptive learning will help prepare aviation professionals with the highest levels of expertise to support operation of the Lilium Jet,” said Brad Thress, FlightSafety International president and CEO, in a statement. FlightSafety says its proprietary training software offers “flexible and agile learning solutions needed to support the advanced air mobility (AAM) market.”

The Lilium Jet

The Lilium Jet is the company’s six-passenger, battery-powered eVTOL with a wing-mounted ducted-fan propulsion system. The aircraft is designed to reach cruise speeds of about 151 knots (280 km/hr) with a range of 162 nm (300 km). 

Lilium’s test article has been undergoing flight testing in Europe. The company says its air taxi program is on track to earn certification in time to enter service in 2024. 

“This partnership is a major step in our mission to build radically better ways of moving and to electrify regional air travel,” said Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand in a statement. “We believe that the private and business professional segments will be highly attractive markets in the future and, likewise, early adopters of the eVTOL revolution. 

“We couldn’t be happier to collaborate with NetJets and FlightSafety to electrify this market and hope to forge a long-term strategic partnership to bring high speed regional electric air mobility to the world.”

Wanted: Thousands of eVTOL Pilots

Flight training for eVTOLs has become a growing consideration across this emerging industry. Dozens of aircraft developers around the world are working to create a revolutionary form of zero-emissions transportation aimed at making short, 25-mile hops over traffic-congested cities. 

In the coming years, the business models for eVTOL air taxi operators will require thousands of pilots trained to fly these entirely new aircraft platforms.

Some developers, such as California-based Joby Aviation, have said they plan to establish their own flight training programs to create a pilot pipeline for their eVTOL airlines. 

Thom is a former senior editor for FLYING. Previously, his freelance reporting appeared in aviation industry magazines. Thom also spent three decades as a TV and digital journalist at CNN’s bureaus in Washington and Atlanta, eventually specializing in aviation. He has reported from air shows in Oshkosh, Farnborough and Paris. Follow Thom on Twitter @thompatterson.

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