Lilium looks to resume flight tests in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as restrictions on business operations are eased around the world. The German-based company has been working from home for the past two months and has been looking for ways to resume operations while maintaining social distancing among other preventative measures. Lilium currently expects flight testing to begin in “a few months.”
Over the past several months, Lilium has been producing its second technology demonstrator aircraft, which will incorporate some design changes from the first prototype flown in 2019, fly at faster speeds, and be able to transition from vertical lift-off to fixed-wing cruise flight. Lilium aims to have the model fully certified by 2025. This latest edition of the Lilium Jet can seat up to five passengers.
In a recent presentation, Lilium’s Chief Program Officer Yves Yemsi demonstrated the company’s implementation of new management processes, including stage gate reviews at its company and across the supply chain. This concept has been successfully used elsewhere in the aerospace industry in tracking the overall technological readiness of a flight vehicle and its systems at organizations like NASA, Boeing, Airbus, and more. “We don’t want to lose quality at any stage so we are putting controls in place at all levels,” explained Yemsi, who formerly held a senior quality and program role with Airbus.
Why it matters: Earlier this year, Lilium completed another round of funding, generating over $240M bringing its fundraising total to $340M. The company has equipped itself with more than 450 employees, 35 of which hold PhDs, and many of which come from prestigious aerospace companies. Alongside its German competitor, Volocopter, the company has amassed an impressive amount of capital and talent. With restrictions easing around the world in light of COVID-19, TransportUP expects to see Lilium back in the spotlight as it looks to resume flight testing.