Rolls-Royce all-electric aircraft Spirit of Innovation enters the flight testing phase following a maiden flight on September 15, 2021. On the day, the 400kW battery-powered plane took off for a 15-minute flight from the Ministry of Defence Boscombe Down testing site in the United Kingdom.
During the flight-testing, Rolls-Royce aims to measure the performance of the aircraft itself as well as to collect data on the electric technology. The battery and propulsion systems of the plane could be applied in the air taxi market in the future, the manufacturer hopes.
In the future, the company wants to improve the battery and propulsion system, so it could propel the Spirit of Innovation to speeds above 482 kilometers per hour (300 mph). Rolls-Royce is aiming to beat the world speed record of electric aircraft, which was set by Siemens electric plane eAircraft in 2017, when it reached a speed of 338 km/h (210 mph).
“This is not only about breaking a world record; the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this program has exciting applications for the Urban Air Mobility market and can help make jet zero a reality,” Warren East, the chief executive officer of Rolls-Royce, was quoted in the company’s statement.
The development of the Spirit of Innovation is a part of the British aerospace innovation program ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight), which is set for a global aviation sector transition to cleaner forms of flight. Half of the Rolls-Royce new all-electric aircraft project is sponsored by the British government and the Aerospace Technology Insititute.