Flying vehicle successfully completes maiden flight

Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand is excited by the breakthrough, and said: "Seeing the Lilium Jet take to the sky and performing sophisticated maneuvers with apparent ease is testament to the skill and perseverance of our unbelievable team. We can now turn our focus to designing a 5-seater production aircraft".

With current air travel, a lot of time and energy are dedicated to getting passengers to the airport and to the aircraft gaining altitude and later descending.

The small aircraft can achieve speeds of up to 300 km/h with electricity consumption comparable to that of an electric auto. The Jet is 100 percent electrically powered, which means it won't pollute the air and could be a solution to reduce pollution emitted by gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles in towns and cities.

It is unique in combining the benefits of VTOL offered by helicopters and drones, with the speed and range of a jet aircraft.

Lilium has lift off! Once the aircraft has reached the proper height, it slowly tilts its flaps to a horizontal position, at which point the craft can move forward.

The Lilium Jet consists 12 flaps, each of which carries three electric jet engines.

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The aircraft's engines are individually shielded, so the failure of a single unit can not affect adjacent engines.

In addition, Lilium says that the motor nacelles are individually shielded to prevent one failure affecting the others, that the power cells are created to allow for continued flight and a safe landing if the battery conks out, and the company's Flight Envelope Protection System is created to reject a pilot's commands if they would pose a safety risk.

In terms of safety, Lilium's Flight Envelope Protection System prevents the pilot from doing anything which would take the aircraft beyond safe-flight parameters. Lilium also marked the occasion by announcing a new 5-seater design, which it envisions will be used for on-demand flying taxi and ride-sharing services in the future.

The Lilium Jet is, ironically, not actually a jet.

Lilium says this is five times faster than cars with a journey from New York's JFK to Manhattan taking 55 minutes by vehicle but just five in the Jet.