Lilium - Point to point small air transport reinvigorated?

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

anvegger

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jul 6, 2015
Messages
535
Location
LACONIA NH USA
Today we have an interesting pinterest - Tesla announced it's interest in VTOL race - sounds unusual but who knows At least something to enjoy viewing

42e3e0bb4922050ec5c77a29f55df2ef.jpg
 

tspear

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
987
Location
Outside Boston
Today we have an interesting pinterest - Tesla announced it's interest in VTOL race - sounds unusual but who knows At least something to enjoy viewing

View attachment 65714
I do not recall where I heard it.
The difference between a TV and Compute Monitor is the tuner and branding.
The difference between an EV and laptop case are regulations and size. All the same basic components and engineering.
Therefore, expect manufactures to bleed over between industries like never before. e.g. Tesla getting into Solar and now VTOL. Largest Indian computer company getting into car manufacturing. Google into autonomous cars....

Tim
 

Kingfisher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
448
Location
Perth, WA, Australia
This one is a little more interesting, given that it's an Airbus project. Even if they're just doing it for some R&D and the PR value (Airbus seems to be do a lot of PR these days, see their near-takeover of the branding of the Perlan project), there's value in showing that it can be done. If nothing else, they'll give distributed propulsion a big boost.

A viable product that you'll be able to use ten years from now? Don't hold your breath.
Why is it just "a little more interesting" because it's Airbus? They are just on it because all these private people have realised it is possible. They even somewhere announced that's why they formed "A cubed", to not be inhibited by their old style encrusted aircraft engineers. I hope you are just trolling with this generally negative attitude, even though you should be above this as a moderator. Why does having the money give things more legitimacy? Of course it's more likely do get done, yes...
 

Kingfisher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
448
Location
Perth, WA, Australia
What's interesting (aside from the eye-candy) is that this appears to be what could finally be called a practical working example of a human-carrying multi-copter. It had enough excess power to climb quickly and definitively, and control authority appeared to excellent. Most of the videos you see of this kind of craft barely stagger up into ground-effect, and then even the slightest breeze or upset takes forever to correct. This had none of those issues.

Wonder what the endurance really is?
The Volocopter has flown at considerable height with a person inside, too. That jet ski guy whose stuff is in the video has made a jet powered version of this type of hoverboard, too. I'm sure the Lilium guys have done their calcs, they're German engineers (or engineers to be...). The controllability is all there. With these developments we are just where the Wright brothers were in 1903. They had made a proof of concept aircraft, I'm sure with thousands of people saying "Blah, what's 29 seconds flight time, what's that ever going to gain us?" Why are there so many of you who don't recognize this? How come an RV or Pitts is acceptable, these things are death traps, often flip over on rough ground or in water. Can one even open the canopy when you're upside down? There's a video of an RV who landed in the water, bet the guy drowned in there, unless the people running to him got him out.
 

Kingfisher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
448
Location
Perth, WA, Australia
Quote from anvegger :"Today we have an interesting pinterest - Tesla announced it's interest in VTOL race - sounds unusual but who knows At least something to enjoy viewing

Click image for larger version. Name: 42e3e0bb4922050ec5c77a29f55df2ef.jpg Views: 34 Size: 30.4 KB ID: 65714 "


I was wondering when this was going to happen, seems a no brainer for him to be in there...
 
Last edited:

Kingfisher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
448
Location
Perth, WA, Australia
After a season of hackers holding data hostage, and the fear that automobiles will be next, ( want to drive to work? pay me to unlock your car ) I'm skeptical of our Brave New World. ( and not just the genetic part )
Automated highways seem like death traps, and automated air traffic sounds like potential saturation bombing.

I admit there may be a gleam of paranoia shining it's light on my views, but as a Motorcycle rider and former hang glider pilot, ( knees ) it looks like the leaders of tech companies are pushing for a world that cannot tolerate people not under computer control.

A manned multi copter, not under Skynet's control seems like a really fun toy..... and the subject of serious ban legislation.

But what do I know? I still like lawn darts. ( and know they are just Roman infantry weapons for the kids in us all )
So we can't drive trucks anymore, because sometimes some crack-head decides to drive one into a merry crowd? Absolutely nothing should be changed after these things happen, everything else is a win for these lunatics. And for clinging to old stuff, why people still fly control line planes is an absolute mystery to me. At least get a stunt kite, so you don't get dizzy...
 

cheapracer

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
6,394
Location
Australian
Why is it just "a little more interesting" because it's Airbus? They even somewhere announced that's why they formed "A cubed", to not be inhibited by their old style encrusted aircraft engineers.
Went out the window for me the moment I saw all the carbon fiber, with all their money and expertise they couldn't be bothered to try to do it experimenting with economical solutions. Just another 'within the box' engineering effort, and I bet an expensive one at that.

Gordon Murray is one of the greatest Formula 1 race car designers of all time, he often went to low level club race days to look for innovations by privateers.
 

Aesquire

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2014
Messages
2,956
Location
Rochester, NY, USA
Kingfisher, that's not my complaint/prediction. People driving into crowds is a different problem, not one we can solve with a new flap design, so beyond the scope of aviation.

The problem I see is the big money in aviation has little interest in private little planes except as training for aerial bus drivers. They are working hard on replacing the bus drivers with robots. Robots don't strike, don't care if the runway is visible, don't need crew rest, etc.

The same thing is happening to trucks. Robots don't fall asleep, don't do amphetamines, don't strike.

It's not an instant process since the robots can't drive cars very good yet. Aviation has the advantage that there's less traffic and less to hit on the electronic highways. Airliners rule at all major airports, makes sense, that's where the money is. Look at Belgium, where the airspace you can fly anything except an airliner on programmed paths is tiny, in the cracks. This has been a gradual process over decades and each step makes sense viewed in isolation.

Now that the robots are driving cars and trucks, the robot makers are complaining that the greatest risk to the robots is the idiot humans driving on the same roads. So rich robot makers will pay politicians to ban humans as the next logical step.

As an owner of a manual road going motorcycle that concerns me.

You could argue that this so far fringe trend will be across the entire society . Why risk food poisoning or spit in your burger from a teenager when a robot can cook them attitude ( and paycheck ) free? Today you can choose. Tomorrow?

All the flying VTOL commuter drones are looking to be robot control since qualified multi copter pilots don't exist. That means every other flying machine where they can be used must be wireless communication connected so the robots can dodge each other. And the dumb humans quickly become undesirable in the mix.
 

Aesquire

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2014
Messages
2,956
Location
Rochester, NY, USA
I feel like the nay sayers of 1919 complaining that air travel isn't ready for mass transportation. It wasn't. But that changed.

Electric VTOL robot pods aren't ready yet. Mostly because of the batteries. I'm going to assume that changes.

But let's say next week I build a VTOL robot taxi and want to take it to work down town. Let's say I need not care about parking, since I'll just send it home when I arrive. The system isn't ready to allow that. But that can change.

How that changes is my concern.
 

cheapracer

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Messages
6,394
Location
Australian
since I'll just send it home when I arrive.
That is one of the main reasons it will happen, car or vtol.

Arrive, send it home or at least to outer parimeter where there's spaced to be parked and recharged.

You can do that with a Tesla now, although not setup for auto charge when gets there.

I don't actually understand the congestion anyway, most all city office stuff can be done anywhere with todays computers and networks, strange they keep paying huge amounts for city center office space.
 

Kingfisher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
448
Location
Perth, WA, Australia
I feel like the nay sayers of 1919 complaining that air travel isn't ready for mass transportation. It wasn't. But that changed.

Electric VTOL robot pods aren't ready yet. Mostly because of the batteries. I'm going to assume that changes.

But let's say next week I build a VTOL robot taxi and want to take it to work down town. Let's say I need not care about parking, since I'll just send it home when I arrive. The system isn't ready to allow that. But that can change.

How that changes is my concern.

Well, sorry, I was on a bit of a rant and just focussed on the doom and gloom in your other post. When I sit in my yard and listen to the birds, I'm sometimes thinking it might not be so great to have more air traffic than what there already is, just because of the noise. Also, in my engineering work I've gained the impression there are more engineers out there who administer and change rules and regulations, than there are ones doing actual creative engineering (which I consider to be designing things that then actually get built and used). And then there are the lawyers after that. I once had a patent lawyer look at a text I had written, and his corrections made it near impossible for me to understand what I was trying to patent.
So yes, there will be thousands of people who might not fully understand but will be writing rules and regs to keep us all safe (scary!) and only a handful who will actually develop the technology.
However, never hold back development, there will always be good and bad, and good is usually more of. For example, for your motorcycle commute, you may be allowed to officially pass cars in between lanes, since less accidents are likely caused by drivers suddenly changing lanes.
Some rich robot makers have recently shown social conscience by opposing the development of battle robots, so not all are bad, and not all politicians are, either. Just being a hockey coach can be difficult, not because of the kids, but the parents. Can't imagine what it must be like sitting in parliament, trying to get through some stuff that actually might matter...
 

Aesquire

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2014
Messages
2,956
Location
Rochester, NY, USA
The optimistic view that robot cars make manual motorcycles safer has merit. The downside is to do so requires that manual cars be banned.

Locally lane splitting is illegal today and it's responded to by car drivers with fear and rage. So banning humans is attractive on that one aspect. ( i just have to give up driving a vintage car )

I've watched for decades as VTOL commuter planes were promised, prototypes built & hyped with no untethered test flights, and declarations that the FAA won't allow them until there is a computer controlled air traffic system to manage the planes that must, by the nature of the beast, allegedly, need to be robots.

Modern drone control by sketching a desired path on a phone mean that in the sticks where Big Brother Air control is absent, the robot vtol taxi can still be useful.

It's not all doom & gloom. I'm still going to be responsible to see and avoid traffic in a ultralight just like today. I'm pretty sure most of the old school airplanes that have missed me never saw me so the guy reading the tablet in his robo-taxi doesn't change much.

But will the politicians see it that way? Senator Foghorn is going to get that contribution from the owner of robo-taxi inc. and perhaps his staffer will count my letter in his report to his boss on customer feedback. "64 letters from pilots, & $450,000 from the guy who lets your family stay at his Swiss chalet last month" may not be good for my desire.

It's early days in the robot vs. Human legislation process. I may be simply paranoid or Cassandra watching the Kingdom fall. Time will tell. I'm not even against flying robot taxis. I just don't know if I can coexist with them. It makes sense to make robot cars, trucks and planes. It even makes sense to get the fallible humans out of the equation. Trouble is, I'm only human. ;)
 
Last edited:

Kingfisher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2013
Messages
448
Location
Perth, WA, Australia
BBerson mentioned something that makes a lot of sense to me. If the electric ducted fan and vertical axis propeller stuff was even close to being realistic for daily real-world VTOL, then we would already have hundreds of little BD-5-e's darting around, and backpacks, 1/2 scale WAR replica Me-262's and He-178's flying first. Remember the Solo-Trek flying backpack?

But all of the actually viable and usable electric airplanes available now use traditional propellers, and the airframes are more aerodynamically efficient shapes than any of the newfangled artist conception vaporware. It seems to me that the electric Cessna 172, or the electric Beech Bonanza, or at the very least the electric RV-6, will be in daily use before the electric Uber VTOL Taxi is a flying prototype. It will happen, that beautiful electric "racer" and aerobatic airplane exists now, and the electric CriCri exists.

What I haven't seen yet is a valid, compelling reason why Uber and all the futurists and Jetsons-mongers are not accepting the fact that larger diameter rotor blades, and a vehicle like Sockmonkey's coax e-copter is not being pursued with much more intensity than the others. The Volocopter takes up about the same amount of floor space with numerous motors with a large ring around them all. Why is it such a bitter pill to have X feet worth of real rotor blades instead of X feet of electric motors out on carbon tube tree branches? It solves the propulsive efficiency problem better than any of the other VTOL solutions. It solves the pink mist problem.

I'm no expert on rotorcraft whatsoever, but I believe that using co-ax and counter-rotating rotors has been done, is a known science, and can eliminate much of the mechanical complexity, swash plates, articulated rotor heads, etc. Coax helicopters can eliminate the tail rotor, but with electrics a tail rotor is really not that big of a deal.
It is an interesting one, many small rotors versus few bigger ones. And ducted fans/shrouded props ( what is the difference? I don't actually know) versus larger open props. My Rc experience says ducted fans always give less flight time, and one only uses them to model a scale looking "jet". The electric ones are better than the glow engine powered ones, I reckon. Why Lilium uses them puzzled me, too. I now think one has to consider in general that the whole wing contributing to propulsion may be the most efficient way of generating thrust and lift. Just like pretty much any animal that flies. There are not many animals that hold out fixed wings and then use only a few disproportionately small flappers or airscrews to propel themselves. We just get away with it because we have fossil fuels. So maybe, short of flapping, the distributed lift idea with many small props, or even fans, combined with a wing they are blowing over, comes closest to the "full wing propulsion" of animals. Still, I would rather use the Joby approach with folding props, as this gives the longest flight times also in RC, and not turn the plane into a drag queen when the fans stop.
My own proposal is more like a quadcopter, because they do work, and I want the whole thing to stay small. I didn't know about the Airbus Vahana when I thought this up, but am satisfied that it is quite similar. I'm sure the Vahana will fly. I still think there maybe some benefit in trying "free wings" in hover mode, so they don't try to fly if they are not yet supposed to...
 

Aesquire

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2014
Messages
2,956
Location
Rochester, NY, USA
Part of the "problem" here is that if you want to raise a lot of money for a new flying machine, a lovely CGI presentation of a better Cessna 172 or Bell Jet Ranger isn't going to get many investors. Same is true with cars, and the failure rate is at least as high.

Would you invest in a new turbocharged, high performance economy car if it looked like this?
mm06.jpg

instead of this?

170105103442-toyotas-far-out-vision-for-the-car-of-the-future-cnnmoney-00000501-large-169.jpg
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
15,234
Location
Port Townsend WA
It is an interesting one, many small rotors versus few bigger ones. And ducted fans/shrouded props ( what is the difference? I don't actually know) versus larger open props. My Rc experience says ducted fans always give less flight time, and one only uses them to model a scale looking "jet". The electric ones are better than the glow engine powered ones, I reckon. Why Lilium uses them puzzled me, too. I now think one has to consider in general that the whole wing contributing to propulsion may be the most efficient way of generating thrust and lift. Just like pretty much any animal that flies. There are not many animals that hold out fixed wings and then use only a few disproportionately small flappers or airscrews to propel themselves. We just get away with it because we have fossil fuels. So maybe, short of flapping, the distributed lift idea with many small props, or even fans, combined with a wing they are blowing over, comes closest to the "full wing propulsion" of animals. Still, I would rather use the Joby approach with folding props, as this gives the longest flight times also in RC, and not turn the plane into a drag queen when the fans stop.
My own proposal is more like a quadcopter, because they do work, and I want the whole thing to stay small. I didn't know about the Airbus Vahana when I thought this up, but am satisfied that it is quite similar. I'm sure the Vahana will fly. I still think there maybe some benefit in trying "free wings" in hover mode, so they don't try to fly if they are not yet supposed to...
The physics of static hovering thrust is well known. It comes down to disc loading. I can post some more info if interested.
 

anvegger

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jul 6, 2015
Messages
535
Location
LACONIA NH USA
Kalashnikov.com just published their new hovercraft similar to HoverSurf but slighly different

 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top