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The world of the Jetsons could be closer than we have ever imagined. In perhaps the biggest technology leap since jet propulsion, German engineers have designed the world’s first electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, and it could be coming to market as early as January 2018.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has lauded the egg-shaped plane, called Lilium, for its environmental benefits as well as the fact that it only needs an area around 50 feet by 50 feet, or the size of a backyard garden, to take off and land. This means it doesn’t need an airport and can be operated virtually anywhere.
The two passenger electric plane, designed for flying in daylight, good weather and non-congested conditions, has a range of 300 miles and can reach a top speed of 250 mph.
According to Lilium co-owner Daniel Wiegand, “Our goal is to develop an aircraft for use in everyday life. 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. To reduce noise and pollution, we are using electric engines so it can also be used close to urban areas.”
From the designer’s website – “Elegance, speed, comfort and sustainability – fusing to a new form of traveling, defining a completely new form of freedom. This is the Lilium Jet, the world’s first electric vertical take-off and landing jet …. The future of aviation begins now.”
(pictures reprinted with permission from Lilium Aviation)
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