First Flight of Lilium Prototype Shows the Promise of Electric Air-Taxi Concept

The German startup has flown a full size and weight version of its proposed eVTOL aircraft.

Lilium Jet prototype test
The Lilium prototype undergoing flight testing in Germany this month.Courtesy Lilium

As far as first flights of ambitious eVTOL prototypes go, this one was pretty impressive. The Lilium Jet prototype, a "full size and full weight" all-electric five-seat vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, made its successful maiden flight this month, allowing the German startup company behind the project to take another step toward its eventual goal of launching on-demand air-taxi services.

Two years ago, Lilium completed test flights on the world's first electric VTOL "jet" using a two-seater prototype that was controlled remotely by a pilot on the ground. It performed a successful vertical takeoff and transition between hover mode and forward flight mode. Still, that aircraft weighed far less than a production version would.

But the early success of that flight paid dividends as the startup later that year received $90 million in seed money, which it used to create the new prototype that more closely represents the full production version.

More testing and refinements will follow, but this was an impressive early feat for Lilium that deserves close watching in the months and years ahead.

See more about the aircraft: Lilium Jet All-Electric Air Taxi