Reporting on the European Space Agency's (ESA) reveal Friday of an in-development private jet, Popular Science blogger Kelsey Atherton said the Lilium Jet resembled "an airplane designed by Apple," and we have to agree. This slick, quiet, electric jet, due to roll out in 2018, will have vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) ability and a range of 300 miles.
This isn't a pie — or iPhone — in the sky concept developers are trying to fund through a Kickstarter page. The Lilium has real muscle and brains behind it. Funding has come from the ESA's business incubation center based in Bavaria as well as other agencies that sponsor new ventures across Europe.
In its release about Lilium published Friday, the ESA said the "electric two-seater will open the door to a new class of simpler, quieter and environmentally friendly planes available from 2018." The release also quoted Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand, who said, "We are going for a plane that can take off and land vertically and does not need the complex and expensive infrastructure of an airport."
Wiegand also said the electric engines will "reduce noise and pollution" and can "be used close to urban areas."
The Lilium will be considered a light aircraft used for sport and according to the ESA release, "is intended for recreational flying during daylight, in good weather conditions and in uncongested airspace up to 3 km altitude."
We're stoked not only about the possibilities presented by the Lilium Jet's VTOL capacity — if you've got a 50 foot by 50 foot area in which to park it, you're gold — but also by the way it predicts transportation to come. If you look at tech like daredevil Franky Zapata's crazy Flyboard Air hoverboard and upcoming innovations like the Lilium, it seems obvious that the future of air transportation may be so awesome that all the sci-fi comparisons will be rendered pointless. By 2018 the Lilium won't be fiction, it'll be the real deal, and an amazing part of daily life in some places.
Count us in.
h/t Popular Science