Lilium - Point to point small air transport reinvigorated?

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Unknown_Target

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https://lilium.com/

Holy cow. This isn't CG, and it looks like it's to scale (but I don't see an interior). What does everyone think?

I'm super excited. It looks legit - battery technology, I don't know. Gas, you could make it work - hydrogen too? But no one would want to fly in that - I bet the vibrations would be insane from an engine big enough to do that and all the little motors.

EDIT: On the Facebook video I saw this on, they listed a 19 km distance ("the Lilium poad" in Manhattan, NYC to JFK Airport) in 5 minutes' time for $36 up front, then $13 near-term, $6 long term (whatever that means). They compare it to a cab fair of $56-73 distance of 26 km in 55 minutes.
 
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Jay Kempf

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Looks legit. I originally thought this whole project was a bit over marketed in advance. Wonder if they have done payload and endurance testing yet. Good on them for getting a working prototype.
 

Victor Bravo

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I knew this would happen when marijauna become legal.
Moderators, how can I click the "like" button 25 times for the above post?

As far as the aircraft itself, I just love the "departure from controlled flight" proprietary algorithm, especially since it does not require any electronic component failure or special parts to break in order to perform the departure. The designers simply eliminated the vertical fin or fins, thus creating an aircraft that was no longer stable in yaw. I did see small wingtip fins in one of their computer generated graphics, but thankfully the "real" prototype eliminated these just in time, before the aircraft could demonstrate natural stability.

If it were not for the decision to remove the vertical fins, and if natural stability were allowed to exist, a tremendous amount of exciting software and its associated wiring would be put at risk of being un-necessary.
 

gtae07

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As far as the aircraft itself, I just love the "departure from controlled flight" proprietary algorithm, especially since it does not require any electronic component failure or special parts to break in order to perform the departure. The designers simply eliminated the vertical fin or fins, thus creating an aircraft that was no longer stable in yaw. I did see small wingtip fins in one of their computer generated graphics, but thankfully the "real" prototype eliminated these just in time, before the aircraft could demonstrate natural stability.

If it were not for the decision to remove the vertical fins, and if natural stability were allowed to exist, a tremendous amount of exciting software and its associated wiring would be put at risk of being un-necessary.
Those computers have to work full time just to hover. Might as well continue to use that algorithm and leave the weight of an aerodynamic tail on the ground.

Naturally-unstable (or at least, not naturally stable) aircraft are nothing new. See the F-16. Or any helicopter ;)
 

TFF

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Come on guys. There is a RC sim playing with other CGI and a non flying model shots strung together. Just the perfect camera fallowing is a dead giveaway, without picking at the other stuff. Very talented movie maker spamming us.
 

BBerson

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If electric jet airplanes were possible there would first be electric jet airplanes flying, not VTOL.
A jet airplane needs a thrust of about 1/3 or half its weight. A VTOL needs thrust about 1.15 times it's weight.
 

cheapracer

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No doubt it's a model.

I don't like that type of "feel good inspirational" presentation with pennies in the dollar of the actual vehicle.
 

Unknown_Target

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It's not CGI, though I could see why you'd think that. The specular highlights is just too rough on the rotational part of the wings. If it's CGI they should be selling their abilities to LucasFilm, not making fake airplane videos, is what I'm saying.

If they have no natural stability, it would make sense that they could do the first flight without a pilot - the entire thing is run by computers anyway, they just have to link a transmitter.

It's a lot like a quadcopter, which are basically flying circuit boards. The difference is that this uses the motors to pull air over the wings, rather than relying on thrust alone for horizontal flight.

It is probably a model, but it's a full size model. No seats so I dunno how the weight will work out but...hey if they did their math right, it'll be able to carry people too!
 

pictsidhe

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I poked my calculator to see how feasible this is.
With 250Wh/kg batteries (good lithium)
L/D of 20, thrust efficiency of 70%. Range of 300km, no allowance for vtol.
Batteries would need to be 23% of gross weight.
I'm dubious about that L/D. At 10, batteries would be 47% of gross weight.
 
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choppergirl

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Give it another 50 years, and high school kids will be passing me in some slick Jetson's contraption like that, bought at a local dealership on thier parents chip card their junior year, powered by a small nuclear reactor burning through gigawatts of energy, and laugh. "Hey check out grandma over there... what is that thing she's flying, chitty chitty bang bang?"
 

gtae07

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So what if it's a model? Even at half scale it wouldbe a very valuable tool for proving out the concept, testing their control algorithms, the power archutecture, guidance, etc. "We" did the same thing with X-planes and prototypes back in the day;this is just a lower-cost and lower-risk method of doing the same.

At least they have some flying hardware of some kind.
 

Jay Kempf

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So what if it's a model? Even at half scale it wouldbe a very valuable tool for proving out the concept, testing their control algorithms, the power archutecture, guidance, etc. "We" did the same thing with X-planes and prototypes back in the day;this is just a lower-cost and lower-risk method of doing the same.

At least they have some flying hardware of some kind.
From the scale of the flight video against the taxiway it looks like a full scale model. It would be normal to build a mockup of this sort of thing to test and leave out the interior and pilot and just radio control in a controlled environment. It looks like there is a radio control pilot in the background of one of the shots. The question is is it ballasted to flight weight with occupants. If so valid test.

The other view of the craft in the hangar looks like a full scale mockup.

As for camera angles and CGI: it is very possible to track the thing with a drone and a 4k gopro for few dollars.

So all possible. But still, there is something wrong with not putting humans in the picture and engaging with the thing to show continuity. That is a bit weird. If I had a working prototype after all this work I would be getting interviewed in front of it and showing how the test was done. But I have seen marketing types make decisions that baffle technical types.
 

BBerson

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Indeed a model should come first. The test bed doesn't need a fancy canopy and paint job.
But an investment tool always seems to have fancy paint.
 
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