Lilium to Debut Full-Scale eVTOL Jet at EBACE

The manufacturer says its presence at this year’s event in Geneva will be its largest yet.

Lilium Jet EBACE

Lilium’s eVTOL jet features a unique design in which electric ducted fans are embedded in the aircraft’s fixed wings. [Courtesy: Lilium]

Lilium, the manufacturer of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet for six passengers plus a pilot, will debut its flagship aircraft to the public for the first time in May.

The German firm announced the first public unveiling of its full-scale Lilium Jet will take place at the annual European Aviation Business Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), which runs from May 28-30 in Geneva.

The company says its showcase, which will also feature the aircraft’s charging infrastructure and a flight simulator for visitors to try out, will be its largest presence yet at the event. It expects to be one of the show’s largest exhibitors.

At EBACE 2023, Lilium debuted a new cabin design for its Pioneer Edition Jet: a four-passenger configuration of its flagship model that is on sale in the U.S. for a hefty $10 million.

“We are delighted to return to EBACE this year, a year that represents a major milestone for Lilium as we gear up for the first piloted flight of the Lilium Jet targeted for the end of the year,” said Sebastien Borel, chief commercial officer of Lilium. “Consequently, it is fitting that we are returning to EBACE in a very big way, with our largest presence at the show to date.”

Borel and Andreas Pfisterer, the manufacturer’s head of flight operations and crew training, each will participate in panels at the event.

Lilium at the end of 2023 began production on the first seven Lilium Jet models, which the company intends to deploy in for-credit testing with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Those evaluations will follow the aircraft’s first piloted flight. The move marked a key step toward type certification of the model, which Lilium expects to obtain by the end of 2025.

Though often lumped in with eVTOL air taxi manufacturers such as Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation, Lilium has a slightly different use case in mind for its aircraft: regional air mobility (RAM).

The Lilium Jet is expected to cruise at 162 knots on city-to-city trips spanning 25-125 sm (22-109 nm). While Archer’s Midnight and Joby’s air taxi are capable of flying those distances, the companies are more focused on urban air mobility (UAM) services within metro areas, such as New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

Accordingly, Lilium’s design employs a configuration seldom seen on eVTOL air taxis, with 36 electric ducted fans embedded in the aircraft’s wings. By contrast, Archer, Joby, and several others are building fixed-wing tiltrotor or tilt propeller aircraft in which the rotors and propellers provide both vertical lift and forward cruise.

The Lilium Jet uses an unconventional fan-in-wing architecture. [Courtesy: Lilium]

Lilium says its design sacrifices some efficiency in hover in exchange for significantly greater efficiency in cruise, since the airframe is not bogged down by tilting rotors or propellers. EBACE 2024 in Switzerland will be one of the first times an aircraft with the unique fan-in-wing configuration is on display to the public.

While the event will take place in Europe, where Lilium is based, the manufacturer plans to sell aircraft to operators in the U.S. market as well.

Already, it has opened sales for Pioneer Edition Jets to individual U.S. buyers, while fractional aircraft ownership firm NetJets in 2022 signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of 150 of the company’s flagship aircraft.

In February, Lilium designated a planned 56,000-square-foot vertiport at Orlando International Airport (KMCO) as the hub for its operations in Florida, which is expected to be one of the company’s earliest launch markets.

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Jack is a staff writer covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel—and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.

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