Rolls-Royce has made the first flight of its all-electric Spirt of Innovation experimental plane, with which it intends to establish an all-out speed record for an all-electric piloted aircraft. The program is chock-a-block with acronyms, many of which are about the company’s desire to promote its green initiatives—Rolls-Royce is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fossil fuel-burning large-jet engines.
Spirit of Innovation took off from Boscombe Down airfield and flew for “approximately 15 minutes,” a length of time that was once common for first flights, though today they tend to be much longer, allowing the test pilots—the pilot of this single-place plane was not named in Rolls-Royce’s release—to complete tasks on the flight test card. In this case, the short first flight, not much more time than to do a couple of laps, oraised eyebrows because when it comes to electric planes, endurance is everything. In fact, the plane is projected to have a 170-nm range, so the short test was likely just that and not indicative of anything more.
It’s all a part of Rolls-Royce’s ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) program, the moniker of which kind of explains itself. That initiative is part of the company’s larger goal of getting to a zero-carbon footprint in 30 years’ time.
Want more information on electric planes? Click here: Electric Creep