The Spirit of Innovation all-electric aircraft took off from the UK Ministry of Defence's Boscombe Down site, spent about 15 minutes in the air, and landed successfully. The company will now begin intense flight testing to collect various data on its systems.
The aircraft has a 400-kW (approximately 500+ horsepower) electric powertrain, which allows it to reach a speed of 480+ km/h. The three-bladed propeller has a 90% energy efficiency and a rotation frequency of 2,400 rpm. The model also features "the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft," consisting of 6,000 battery cells.
Rolls-Royce claims that Spirit of Innovation was created as part of the Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL) project. The project partners are YASA, which specializes in electric motors and controllers, and the startup Electroflight.
Half of the project, including the creation and testing of the electric aircraft, is funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute, as well as the UK Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
In general, the company plans to create a fully electric full-size passenger aircraft by 2026. And by 2050, Rolls-Royce plans to completely switch to the production of environmentally friendly products.