Germany-based developer Lilium has achieved main wing transition of its technology demonstrator Phoenix 2, making it the first ever full size electric jet aircraft to transition from hover to wing-borne flight. This, it says, is a landmark moment for Lilium and for electric aviation as a whole.
From a flight physics perspective, completing transition means the airflow going over the flaps attaches and becomes smooth, allowing the lift to be generated by the wing as in conventional fixed wing aircraft rather than by the engines, which is the case during the hovering phase.
Phoenix 2 has now achieved this milestone across the entire main wing while, most importantly, remaining stable and behaving as predicted by Lilium's proprietary flight dynamics model.
Lilium co-founder and Phoenix chief engineer Matthias Meiner says: “Main wing transition is a huge step forward on our path to launch, and it validates our flight dynamics model. Full credit goes to the outstanding Lilium team who worked so hard to get us here and who remain laser-focused on the rest of the flight test campaign.”
Lilium will continue its flight test campaign throughout the summer, expanding the flight envelope further, including transition of the forward canards and high-speed flights.
Former Airbus executive Klaus Roewe will be joining the company on 1 August, 2022 as CEO. Co-founder and current CEO Daniel Wiegand will continue as chief engineer for innovation and future programmes and as a board director.
“The board ran an extensive global CEO search and is genuinely excited with the appointment of Klaus Roewe. We believe adding Klaus as CEO will give us unparalleled executional leadership to complement Lilium's innovative DNA as we continue the development of the Lilium Jet and advance towards type certification and scale production; Klaus has a breadth of operational experience that is very rare in our industry,” says chairman Tom Enders.
During his 30 years at Airbus, Klaus Roewe has spearheaded all phases of the life cycle of a commercial aircraft across engineering, manufacturing, programme management and customer support. He led Airbus' most important business line, the A320 and A320neo programmes, to unprecedented success during his tenure: improving aircraft performance, doubling EBIT and cutting unit costs, while increasing market share and FCF, making it the most successful large commercial aircraft programme of all time.
“I'm proud to be joining the most innovative and differentiated eVTOL company in our industry,“ he says. “I look forward to working with all the Lilium teams to advance the development of our aircraft and to drive Lilium's success in revolutionising sustainable air transport.”
Wiegand and his co-founders launched Lilium in 2015, designing and proving out a novel eVTOL jet architecture and attracting some of best talent in the industry to help them achieve their mission. Since then, the company has gone from a start-up to a Nasdaq-listed company with over 800 employees and a dynamic, experienced, leadership team pulled from the best of aerospace and high-tech.
Board director and former FM North America president Barry Engle says: “As CEO, Daniel has inspired us with a bold vision of transforming sustainable regional mobility with a breakthrough electric jet technology. As a board and as investors, we are delighted that he will continue to focus on this vision and to help drive innovation around core technologies and future products.”
“I am absolutely thrilled to have Klaus Roewe as our next CEO. I firmly believe that he is the right person to lead us through this next phase; and adding him gives Lilium the ideal mix of Silicon Valley innovation with deep aerospace know-how,” adds Wiegand.