Rolls Royce recently announced that the all-electric aircraft “Spirit of Innovation” has now officially become the fastest aircraft with an electric powertrain. The title has been awarded to the aircraft after setting two world records which have been independently confirmed.
The aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometres, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph). In further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence`s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres – 292.8km/h (182 mph) faster than the previous record.
Both records have been officially verified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the World Air Sports Federation that controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical documents. During its record-breaking runs, the aircraft, part of the UK Government-backed ACCEL or `Accelerating the Electrification of Flight` project, also clocked up a maximum top speed of 623km/h (387.4mph), making it the world`s fastest all-electric vehicle. Warren East, the CEO, Rolls-Royce, said: “Achieving the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce.”
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The aircraft was propelled on record-breaking runs by a 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain and the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace. They worked in partnership with aviation energy storage start-up Electroflight and automotive powertrain supplier YASA. The world record runs provided essential data for our future electric power and propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility (UAM) and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft. The characteristics that `air-taxis` require from batteries, for instance, are very similar to what was developed for the `Spirit of Innovation`.
On occasion, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The government is proud to back projects like this to leverage the private investment necessary to unlock cleaner, greener aircraft which will allow people to fly as they do now, but in a way that cuts emissions.”
Rolls-Royce has an incredible history of flying speed record attempts and breaking records, dating back to the Schneider Trophies of the early 1930s. The speed achieved by the test pilot and Rolls-Royce Director of Flight Operations Phill O`Dell in the `Spirit of Innovation` was more than 213.04 km/h (132 mph) faster than the previous record set by the Siemens aircraft powered Extra 330 LE Aerobatic aircraft in 2017.
The third record of the all-electric aircraft for the fastest time to climb to 3000 metres in 202 seconds, breaking the current record by 60 seconds, is still going through the verification process.
With inputs from IANS