19-Dec-2022 Source: Lilium
As we speed towards the end of 2022, we’ve been looking back at another exhilarating year for Lilium. Taking great strides forward in our flight test campaign, certification program, and commercial and strategic partnerships, we have moved into the start of our industrialization phase.
To lead the company into this phase and beyond, Lilium welcomed Klaus Roewe as CEO. During his 30-year career at Airbus, Klaus headed up the development, certification, production ramp-up, and operational deployment of the most successful large commercial aircraft in history. In Klaus’ own words at the time: “Joining Lilium as CEO couldn’t have come at a better time.”
At the start of the year our flight test team arrived at ATLAS Flight Test Center in Spain, and ex-RAF pilot Andrew Strachan joined Lilium as new Chief Test Pilot. Our flight test team had an ambitious schedule ahead of them as Phoenix 2, our 5th generation technology demonstrator, aimed to expand its flight envelope above the olive groves of Andalucia.
The campaign resumed with Phoenix 2 taking to the skies, and in June we achieved main wing transition – which, we believe, is the first time a full-size electric jet aircraft has ever made the transition from hover to wing-borne flight.
But the key moment for Phoenix 2 and for electric aviation came at the end of September, when Phoenix 2 completed the world’s first full transition of an eVTOL jet. On the Lilium Jet, full transition is achieved when the main and canard wings adjust position, enabling the aircraft to move from powered vertical lift into highly efficient, wing-borne flight at ~100 kt (~190 km/h).
Watch Matthias Meiner, Phoenix Chief Engineer & Co-Founder and Hunter Bloch, Flight Test Engineer, explain more about what this progress towards full flow attachment means for the Lilium Jet.
2022 has also seen mission-critical successes on our certification program. In case you missed it, Lilium’s Chief Technology Officer Alastair McIntosh gave a detailed overview of our program, aircraft design, and certification, outlining the journey travelled, and what’s next.
Two of those steps came in April as we successfully completed our second EASA Design Organization Approval audit and submitted our Means of Compliance proposals for the Lilium Jet to EASA. The third DOA was successfully completed on the 15th of December, and the fourth and final audit is targeted for the first half of 2023. The DOA, once granted, will show that Lilium has the capability to develop and certify commercial aircraft – a necessary prerequisite for Lilium to obtain a Type Certification of the Lilium Jet.
Meanwhile, Lilium moved to protect the results of its product development and innovation, the key focus being on propulsion and energy systems, including cell manufacturing technologies. As of the end of November 2022, we have filed a total of 74 patent applications with the European Patent Office (EPO). Additionally, we have embarked on a patent extension policy, filing patent applications in jurisdictions outside the EPO states, including the U.S. and China.
Lilium’s first major commercial partnership for private aviation came in March, as NetJets and FlightSafety International, the leader in professional aviation training, announced plans to join our revolution in sustainable regional air mobility. As part of the proposed deal, NetJets will have the right to purchase up to 150 Lilium Jets to be used within NetJets’ shared ownership program, create supplemental direct sales opportunities, and support Lilium’s U.S. network.
Then, in July, Lilium announced four more partnerships at Farnborough International Airshow. These deals with Bristow, AAP Aviation, ASL Group and Helity Copter Airlines, totaling purchase intentions for more than 100 Lilium Jets, cemented relationships for networks in Florida, Scandinavia, Andalusia, and Benelux
In September GlobeAir confirmed its intention to purchase 12 Lilium Jets which will provide premium and business eVTOL flights to its customer base in the French Riviera and Italy. And in October, Saudi Arabia’s national airline SAUDIA, signed an agreement to become the first airline in the MENA region to purchase 100 Lilium Jets alongside yearly support services.
These exciting developments, indicating strong demand from premium private and business aviation operators, culminated in our launch of the Lilium Pioneer Edition Jet in December. Just 50 of the Lilium Pioneer Edition Jets will be produced, and owners of this exclusive piece of aviation history will also enjoy a compelling service, support, and training package, as well as customizable options for the cabin configuration, fabrics, and materials.
On the same day that the Lilium Pioneer Edition Jet was announced, eVolare, a subsidiary of Volare Aviation, one of the United Kingdom’s largest helicopter and private jet operators, agreed to pay Lilium to secure delivery slots for at least 10 Lilium Pioneer Edition Jets, becoming our lead partner and launch operator for sales to private individuals in the UK.
Meanwhile, Lilium continued deepening relationships with industry leading suppliers. In April, we welcomed over 160 guests from 74 current and prospective aerospace suppliers to our first ever annual Supplier Day at our headquarters in Munich.
Following the success of our inaugural Supplier Day, we announced multiple new tier one aerospace partnerships throughout the course of the year. Our avionics partner and investor, Honeywell, will also develop our propulsion solution together with automotive giant DENSO. Livent will complete advanced research and development for high-performance Lithium batteries. We engaged Aernnova to design and build the Lilium Jet’s propulsion mounting system and selected French manufacturer Expliseat to design and build lightweight seats. Finally, we selected Diehl Aviation, a Tier 1 supplier of cabin interiors and systems for the aviation industry, to collaborate on the design and development of the Lilium Jet’s cabin.
Finally, in November, we announced the successful closing of a $119 million capital raise from existing shareholders, new investors, and strategic partners. Commenting on the raise, CEO Klaus Roewe said at the time: “We are pleased to have such a high-quality group of supporters in a challenging macro environment. These proceeds are expected to strengthen our balance sheet and advance our commercialization efforts including signing of customer agreements with pre-delivery payments, reaching an agreement with EASA on our Means of Compliance, and commencing assembly of the type-conforming aircraft for the final manned flight test campaign.”
Once again, we have been overwhelmed by our fans and supporters throughout the year, and have been blown away by the millions of views on our YouTube channel. The whole team at Lilium wishes everyone happy holidays – we’ll see you in 2023. Upwards and onwards!