World's First All-Electric, Jet-Powered, Five-Seater Air Taxi Completes Test Flight

World's First All-Electric, Jet-Powered, Five-Seater Air Taxi Completes Test Flight

Lilium, which has built a five-seater jet-powered flying auto, flew an unmanned test flight of its vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system earlier this month.

Rather than the 55 minutes it takes to travel from JFK Airport to Manhattan by auto, the Lilium Jet could theoretically deliver passengers in five minutes.

Powered by 36 jet engines, but lacking a tail, rudder and propellers, the aircraft is created to take-off and land vertically.

Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and chief executive of Lilium, said: "Moving from two to five seats was always our ambition as it enables us to open up the skies to many more travellers".

Lilium launched the test version of the electric air taxi on Thursday, May 16, as the company said the flying taxi will begin full service around the world in 2025, CNN reports.

Believing they'll encounter "demands for urban air travel that is quiet, safe and environmentally positive", the company will offer an app to let passengers find nearby landing pads for a flight they claim will be "comparable in price with a taxi, yet four times faster".

The aircraft would come down and land on pads stationed around cities and regions, and whisk passengers away to their destination, or close to it, without adding to a city's pollution, noise and traffic on the ground.

Other big names that are working on flying cars include Boeing and Rolls Royce. Companies such as Uber, Airbus, Rolls-Royce Holdings (the aircraft engine manufacturer, not the luxury auto brand owned by Germany's BMW) and Volocopter already are developing them. Kitty Hawk - a flying vehicle startup created by Google co-founder Larry Page - is already offering test flights to potential customers.

The five-seater jet follows on the heels of the firm's two-seater prototype, which successfully flew in 2017. The company did not say exactly how long the aircraft was airborne.

Unlike with conventional aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration does not require a pilot's license to operate a "powered ultralight" craft.

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