Lilium and Whisper: Quiet Flyers

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Two radical-looking electric aircraft, both quiet flyers, contrast in flight modes – eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing), and eCTOL (electric Conventional Take Off and Landing).  Germany’s Lilium and America’s Whisper Jet show their unique ways. Lilium Founded in 2015, Lilium, like most of its competitors, is less than a decade old, but already boasts 950 employees in four offices.  The workers come from six continents and comprise 58 nationalities, a winner in any Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ranking.  They make an impressive product. Lilium is an expensive machine, costing around $7 million plus.  Its marketing approach seems to be toward the VIP set and its first locations are in cash-rich areas such as the French Riviera and along Florida’s eastern shoreline.  Despite the glossy façade, there’s a solid array of engineering inside. Batteries One of the first questions your editor had on early versions of Lilium’s aircraft was where they hid the batteries.  Recent news from the company …

Following the Sky Taxi Money: eVTOLs

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

As though by magic, money from Wall Street, venture capitalists and other investors show a growing interest and cash flow in sky taxis.  It started on August 11 with JoeBen Bevirt of JOBY ringing the bell that starts trading on the stock market floor. As one web site points out, it’s up to the discretion of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as to who gets to ring the bell and, “Only those companies with stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listed on the exchange can ring the bell.” We’ll look at a sampling of companies making electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicles and selling in domestic and foreign markets for an overview of what’s hot.  Later, we’ll look at the inroads being made by makers of fixed-wing aerial vehicles in the nascent regional market. Archer “The closing of the business combination (with Atlas Crest Investment Corp.) generated $857.6 million of gross proceeds, which will help fund Archer’s vision …

Lilium Goes Institutional and Aspirational

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Lilium has done its marketing homework. They seem to be using a lot of marketing skills to move a potentially revolutionary product most of us have no chance of ever owning. Selling Lilium’s Benefits What makes us want things?  What floats our boats?  What makes us stop in our tracks and look in a store window?  What drags people out of their beds at midnight to stand in line for the Blu Ray of the latest Harry Potter film? Writing technical documentation first for an electronics firm and then for a major engineering design/build company, your editor helped create many proposals, inserting relevant technical data into promotional material and proposals.  Working with one particularly successful marketing manager, your editor learned an important lesson: sell the benefits – not the features of the product or service you are providing. Technically-minded types usually like to bask in the features of a product – how many horsepower, how much torque, refresh rates, etc.  …

Lilium Elevates Five-Passenger Uber-Ready Vehicle

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Uber Elevate, headed toward its third annual meeting in Washington, D. C., has established guidelines for what it wants to see flying in its service.  Lilium, a German electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing maker, has flown a vehicle that seems to meet those guidelines. The web site, A New Domain.net, notes, “The authors of the Uber paper point out that the high-profile German concept, the Lilium, is a ‘push to extremely high levels of distribution while coupling the vertical lift in closely with the wing high-lift system.’ The concern here, however, is that such jet-lift approaches “will require substantially higher power for takeoff and landing, with greater challenges operating quietly within cities,” according to the Uber paper.” “From the looks of it, Lilium still looks awfully cool. Due in 2018, Lilium is an egg-shaped plane and oft noted as a key development by European Space Agency (ESA) reps. Capable of a top speed of 250mph and a range of 300 miles, it …

Quart in a Pint Pot

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Lilium is still in its incubator stage, but drawing a lot of interest for its radical two-seat, high-speed aerial vehicle. EIT Climate-KIC, one of the funding organizations helping underwrite this startup, includes some startling claims in Lilium’s description. “Lilium is designing the world’s fastest and highest-range electric aircraft that is commercially available. “The two-seated light aircraft consumes half the energy of today’s most efficient electric cars and is so quiet that it can’t be heard flying in 1 km (@3,300 feet) altitude. It is propelled by electric impeller engines and features an extensive safety concept comprising a 3-fold redundant fly-by-wire control system, 12 redundant batteries and engines as well as a parachute rescue system for the whole aircraft.” The ESA Business Incubation Center, another of Lilium’s backers, has more: “Lilium is developing, building, and selling a two-seated electric jet capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The company was founded in February 2015 by four engineers and Ph.D students from Technische Universität …