Lonely Planet Writer

Taking off from home in your own electric-powered plane no longer a flight of fancy

A future flying your own plane powered from your home and ready to take off quietly from your back garden sounds a tad too far-fetched to be true – but that’s exactly what  German designers are planning for their new electric aircraft.

The Lilium aircraft will be electric, take off and land like a helicopter and because it is quiter than traditional planes, can be used in urban areas without affecting noise level or pollution.
The Lilium aircraft will be electric, take off and land like a helicopter and because it is quiter than traditional planes, can be used in urban areas without affecting noise level or pollution.

In fact, the team behind the new Lilium ultralight plane predict it will not just be a real flier but could be ready for sale within two years.

CNN reports that the two-seater ship will be able to rise and land vertically. And because it shares that trait with helicopters, it can use helipads to ascent or descend. In fact, the Lilium only needs a flat area of 15 x15 metres to land or take off.

Its engineers claim it will be capable of reaching top speeds of 400 km/h, and will be able to travel a distance of up to 500 kilometres.

The aircraft is the brainchild of four Munich University graduates: Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Patrick Nathen and Matthias Meiner.  Mr. Wiegand said their aim was to develop an aircraft for use in day to day life.

He said they had set out to build a plane that didn’t require the complex and expensive infrastructure of an airport. They had decided on electric engines to reduce  pollution and noise levels. This meant it could be more urban friendly than normal airplanes.

The team also emphasised that the use of ducted fan engines made their craft much quieter than helicopters or traditional private jets. The plane’s battery could easily be charged by plugging it into an ordinary domestic supply. The engineers have planned a full-size unmanned prototype for later this year.