Rolls-Royce unveils all-electric plane targeting the record books

IASA e.V. - sustainable aviation

19 December 2019

Rolls-Royce’s ambitions to build the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft have taken an important step forward with the unveiling of the plane at Gloucestershire Airport. Work will now begin on integrating the ground-breaking electrical propulsion system to enable the zero-emissions plane to make a run for the record books with a target speed of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH) in late Spring 2020.

The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL – short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” and is a key part of Rolls-Royce’s strategy to champion electrification. The project involves a host of partners including electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA and the aviation start- up Electroflight. Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The UK has a proud heritage and enviable worldwide reputation for advances in aviation technology. The electrification of flight has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel and transform aviation for decades to come – ensuring we can travel worldwide while maintaining a low carbon footprint. Backed by Government funding, Rolls-Royce is pushing the boundaries even further, and this new innovation could become the fastest electric plane ever.”

Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical said: “Building the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft is nothing less than a revolutionary step change in aviation and we are delighted to unveil the ACCEL project plane. This is not only an important step towards the world-record attempt but will also help to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we are at the forefront of developing technology that can play a fundamental role in enabling the transition to a low carbon global economy.”

The ionBird test airframe, named after the electrical technology propelling the aircraft, was also unveiled. The ionBird will be used to test the propulsion system before it is fully integrated into the plane. Planned tests over the next couple of months include running the propulsion system up to full power as well as key airworthiness checks.

“The ATI is proud to partner with Rolls-Royce on the ACCEL programme because we believe it will lead to exciting new developments in electric propulsion. One of the priorities of the ATI is looking at how aviation can be more sustainable, and ACCEL will be a critical step in our understanding of how electric propulsion fits into that broader aspiration for the UK aerospace sector,” said Gary Elliott, CEO of the Aerospace Technology Institute. “We are also excited about the way it establishes a new and innovative supply chain, bringing together the best of the UK that includes cross-sector expertise, start-up energy and critical domain leadership”.

ACCEL will have the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, providing enough energy to fuel 250 homes or fly 200 miles (London to Paris) on a single charge. Its 6,000 cells are packaged to minimise weight and maximise thermal protection. An advanced cooling system ensures optimum performance by directly cooling cells during the high-power record runs.

The propeller is driven by three high power density axial electric motors and compared to a conventional plane, the propeller blades spin at a far lower RPM to deliver a more stable and far quieter ride. Combined they’ll continuously deliver more than 500 horsepower for the record run. Even during the record run the all-electric powertrain delivers power with 90% energy efficiency and of course zero emissions. (In comparison, a Formula 1 race car tops out at close to 50% energy efficiency).

Chris Harris, CEO, YASA said: “YASA’s electric motor technology is ideal for powering electric flight – the advantages we see on the road are amplified in the air where reducing size and weight for a given power and torque is even more important. We share the same passion for engineering as the team at Rolls-Royce and are delighted to partner with them on ACCEL, a project that’s ushering in a new age of sustainable, electric flight.”

The ACCEL project is just one of the ways in which Rolls-Royce is developing lower carbon power. This includes partnering with Airbus on the E-Fan X technology demonstrator project, which is an important stepping stone towards hybrid electric commercial aircraft at the scale of today’s single aisle family. We are also working with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia on a joint research programme on zero-emissions aviation. The programme is part of the airline´s ambition to replace and electrify its regional fleet of 30+ planes by 2030.

Source: Rolls-Royce

Cathay Pacific Becomes Second Operator of the A350-1000 Widebody

Increased capacity and advantages in fuel and cost efficiency

Toulouse, June 18, 2018: Cathay Pacific Airways has become the second airline to operate the A350-1000, the world’s newest long-range widebody airliner. The airline took delivery of the aircraft at a special event in Toulouse, France.

The aircraft is the first of 20 Airbus A350-1000s ordered by Cathay Pacific and will join the carrier’s growing fleet of A350 XWB aircraft, which already includes 22 A350-900s. Both aircraft are complementary and provide for maximum commonality with unmatched operating efficiencies. Travelers will benefit from absolute well-being in the cabin, with more personal space, optimized cabin altitude, more fresh air, controlled temperature and humidity, integrated connectivity and the latest-generation in-flight entertainment system.

The aircraft will be deployed on the airline’s new non-stop route from Hong Kong to Washington D.C., representing the longest flight – approximately 17 hours – performed by any airline out of Hong Kong. Paul Loo, Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, said: “The A350-1000 has an incredible range, is remarkably fuel efficient and quiet, provides customers with an unsurpassed cabin environment and has extremely attractive operating economics.”

The A350-1000 is the latest member of Airbus’ leading widebody family, showing high level of commonality with the A350-900 with 95 percent common systems part numbers and the same Type Rating. As well as having a longer fuselage to accommodate 40 percent larger premium area (compared to the A350-900), the A350-1000 also features a modified wing trailing edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines. To date, 11 customers from five continents have ordered a total of 168 A350-1000s.

Source: Airbus 

Airbus A330neo en route to Reliability Tests

sustainable aviation

Reducing fuel consumption by about 25 % per seat

Toulouse, June 182018: The A330neo, Airbus’ newest widebody aircraft, has embarked on a worldwide tour to demonstrate its readiness for airline operations. As final step in the aircraft certification phase these function & reliability tests, also known as route proving will include ETOPS missions, landing at diversion airports and testing airport handling services. After a fly past over Airbus’ European sites, the A330neo will head for 15 major airports worldwide over five continents, aiming at achieving 150 Flight Test Hours in three trips. The route proving tests are performed with the first A330-900 production aircraft, fully equipped with an ‘Airspace by Airbus’ cabin and flying in launch operator’s Tap Air Portugal colors.
The route proving tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for summer 2018. Today two A330-900 flight test aircraft and the TAP customer aircraft are involved in the intensive flight test program, which will reach 1000 flight hours during the tour of the Airbus plants. 
Launched in July 2014, the A330neo family is the new generation A330, comprising two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900 sharing 99% commonality. It builds on the proven economics, versatility and reliability of the A330 family, while reducing fuel consumption by about 25 percent per seat versus previous generation aircraft and increasing range by up to 1,500nm compared to the majority of A330s in operation. The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines and features a new wing with increased span and new A350 XWB inspired Sharklets.
sustainable aviation

Airbus A330neo taking-off for a worldwide tour to demonstrate its readiness for airline operations

Source: Airbus
1 2 3 4