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Lilium GmbH
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Lilium Jet

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Lilium begins construction of certification test facility
The facility will be a cornerstone of the Lilium Jet certification programme. The rig will be used to simulate flights, for system integration testing and to verify aircraft performance through multiple flight profiles.

Lilium has started construction of an advanced test facility for integration and certification testing of the Lilium Jet. Designed in partnership with global engineering group Segula Technologies and located at Lilium's headquarters near Munich, Germany, the facility is due to become operational in late summer 2024.

The test site will house a complete, fully integrated aircraft and be used for testing of the Lilium Jet's avionics, flight controls, propulsion system and electrical power system. As part of the jet's certification campaign, the facility will be used to simulate flights and verify the performance of the aircraft through multiple flight profiles.

Alongside the building of the first Lilium Jet, which began at the end of 2023, the construction of the test site represents an important next step on Lilium's path towards first piloted flight at the end of this year, and type-certification of the aircraft. As an EASA Design Organisation Approval holder, Lilium is qualified to undertake conformity of test articles and testing to demonstrate compliance against the applicable certification basis. The test facility will enable Lilium to plan and perform such tasks independently of EASA with an agreed level of involvement.

Covering a total area of 26,000sq ft (2,400sqm), the test facility will comprise an aircraft mounting frame for aircraft loads and moments, an airflow management system to enable representative flight conditions, and charging and cooling equipment for the aircraft's batteries. Aerodynamic testing will be supported by a powerful 1.2 megawatt blower supplied by international engineering company VIRO, that can simulate cross and tailwinds of up to 40mph (65km/h).

Segula Technologies was selected as a partner for its cutting-edge expertise in test rigs, calculations, simulations and for its comprehensive multidisciplinary approach. The project team, comprising approximately 30 experts across several sites in Cologne, Munich, Vitrolles and Lyon, brings specialised skills in mechanical design, calculation and fluid simulations.

Lilium CTO Stephen Vellacott says: "The test facility will be a cornerstone of the Lilium Jet certification programme, allowing us to test multiple flight missions as well as failure scenarios in a controlled environment on the ground. Alongside the flight demonstration, ground-based testing will play a critical role on the path towards certification of the Lilium Jet. We are pleased to have such an experienced and reliable partner like Segula Technologies for the test rig design and especially value the team's multidisciplinary approach."

Ulrich Weide, head of business development in the aerospace department at Segula, adds: "As engineers, it's a great experience to be involved in such a project, firstly because it represents a further step in decarbonising the aviation industry and secondly, we've put together a transnational team of passionate experts, which is very stimulating and fosters a rich learning environment."

The Federal Government of Germany and the Free State of Bavaria have commissioned the state development bank KfW in Frankfurt to conduct due diligence on Lilium as part of the customary state support process. Once the diligence is completed and results satisfactory, Lilium expects to receive guarantees from both as security for a KfW loan.

"We would like to thank those responsible in Berlin and Munich for their decision and the constructive cooperation over the last few weeks," says CEO Klaus Roewe. "We expect due diligence to be swift as transparency is a daily routine for us as a listed company.

"Electrification is in the public interest as a contribution to the necessary decarbonisation of the industry. German government support is not only about creating a level playing field with the US and China, but also about signalling to the financial markets that innovations and new technologies are supported in Germany."

Lilium is the only manufacturer worldwide with a certification basis for a powered lift eVTOL aircraft in Europe and the US. Founded in 2015 by four graduates of the Technical University of Munich, and located at the Oberpfaffenhofen airport, the company currently employs a workforce of over 1,000, more than 80 per cent of whom work in highly specialised engineering and manufacturing fields. Lilium has a very international workforce and is building a strong European set-up: it is registered in The Netherlands; has its headquarters, design/engineering and industrial facilities in Munich; and a flight test centre in Spain. It is in discussions with the French government to explore the expansion of its industrial footprint into France.

Initial production of the Lilium Jet began in 2023 with entry into service planned for 2026. Lilium has accumulated an order pipeline of over 780 units, including binding orders and MoU agreements from operators in the US, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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