Large-Scale Lilium Jet Model Enters Wind Tunnel

The 40%-scale Lilium Jet wind tunnel model has powered electric ducted fans and flap actuators.

Credit: Lilium

Lilium has begun wind tunnel testing of a large-scale powered model of its Lilium Jet to validate performance predictions for the full-scale conforming prototype now under construction.

The 40%-scale model of the 45.6-ft.-span Lilium Jet is being tested at the German-Dutch Wind Tunnels (DNW) facility in Markenesse, Netherlands. The Large Low-Speed Facility at DNW is the largest wind tunnel in Europe, with a test section of 9.5 x 9.5 m (31 x 31 ft.).

Testing will cover the vectored-thrust electric-vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft’s complete flight envelope from hover to cruise, Lilium says, and generate an aerodynamic database to validate the flight physics of the full-scale aircraft, which is scheduled to enter final assembly this year and fly in 2024.

The size of the DNW has allowed the company to build a large model with a low-scaling factor so that the data generated will be representative of the full-size Lilium Jet. Thirty scaled electric ducted fans are mounted on remotely actuated flaps on the aft wing and canard foreplane.

The model was built by Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe (TGR-E), a subsidiary of Toyota with an engineering center in Cologne, Germany. It is supported by research and development engineering services provider IBK-Innovation. Scaled engines were built by German electric ducted fan producer Schuebeler Technologies.

The model is similar in size to Lilium’s Phoenix 2 technology demonstrator now undergoing flight testing in Spain. Based on an earlier five-seat design, the Phoenix 2 is about half scale to the seven-seat Lilium Jet. At the beginning of March the demonstrator achieved its 136 kt. (155 mph) maximum speed.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.