Rolls-Royce electric aircraft breaks speed record

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Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation electric plane recorded a top speed of 623.45km/h.

Rolls-Royce has tested a new all-electric aircraft, which it says could be the fastest plane of its type in the world.

The Spirit of Innovation aircraft achieved a top speed of 387.4mph (623.45km/h) during one of three test runs in Wiltshire, UK which is believed to be a new world record.

Aerospace company Rolls-Royce, separate entity from Rolls-Royce the car manufacturer, said that its aircraft travelled more than 212km/h faster than the previous record set by the Siemens eAircraft-powered Extra 330 LE Aerobatic in 2017.

 

The Derby-based firm also claims to have broken the record for the fastest climb to 3000 metres by an electric plane by 60 seconds, with a recorded time of 202 seconds.

Spirit of Innovation has a 400kW battery, with a power output of just under 370kW. Rolls-Royce says this is the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace.

The test flights were undertaken by test pilot and director of operations Phill O’Dell. He said: “Flying the Spirit of Innovation at these incredible speeds and believing we have broken the world-record for all-electric flight is a momentous occasion.

“This is the highlight of my career and is an incredible achievement for the whole team.”

Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce, said: “Staking the claim for the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce.

“Following the world’s focus on the need for action at COP26, this is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”

Rolls-Royce has submitted their data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation. The company hopes that the FAI will certify and officially confirm the results as new World Record speeds in the near future.

Sam Phillips

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