PHOTO CAPTION: Presumed photo of Ililum in flight

German Electric "Jet" VTOL Startup Claims First Flight

Two-seat prototype purportedly makes first successful unmanned test flight in Germany, paving way for future "sky taxi.'

Published: 22-Apr-2017

If the video below is to be believed, and these days with hyper-realistic CGI, it's getting damned hard to tell fact from fiction, German startup Ililum conducted their first successful vertical takeoff and landing; and importantly made a smooth transition to straight forward flight yesterday at an airfield outside of Munich.

The two-place prototype was unmanned, presumably remote controlled. Powered by a series of small, titlable ducted fans buried in the wings and forward canard, the cross between an helicopter, tailless airplane, and VW Beetle without wheels is a proof-of-concept, backed by some serious investor dollars, according to VOA. The company reportedly has raised some $11.4 million. The company says it plans to make its first manned test flights in 2019, after it's cleared all the regulatory hurdles that stand in its way, as well as its erstwhile competitors, including crowd-funded eVolo, based near Mannheim.

All of these companies, including US-based Terrafugia, has one goal: creation of a successful "flying car," a quest that dates as far back as the 1930s. The difference is, while all those were powered by burning fossil fuels, the current generation of "sky taxis" are shooting to be all-electric, powered solely by batteries. By the 2020 time-frame, the company is banking on improvements in battery density will give their craft a range ofmiles 300km and top speed of 185 mph, with an energy usage comparable to a modern electric car.

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