The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ took off from the Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site, which is managed by QinetiQ, and flew for approximately 15 minutes.

Rolls-Royce said in a news release:

“We are pleased to announce the completion of the first flight of our all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft. At 14:56 (BST) the plane took to the skies propelled by its powerful 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain with the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft. This is another step towards the plane’s world-record attempt and another milestone on the aviation industry’s journey towards decarbonisation.”

Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce, said:

“The first flight of the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is a great achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce. We are focused on producing the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea, and capture the economic opportunity of the transition to net zero. This is not only about breaking a world record; the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Urban Air Mobility market and can help make ‘jet zero’ a reality.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“The first flight of Rolls-Royce’s revolutionary Spirit of Innovation aircraft signals a huge step forward in the global transition to cleaner forms of flight. This achievement, and the records we hope will follow, shows the UK remains right at the forefront of aerospace innovation. By backing projects like this one, the Government is helping to drive forward the boundary pushing technologies that will leverage investment and unlock the cleaner, greener aircraft required to end our contribution to climate change.”

You can watch a video of the flight here.

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Andy P
Andy P
24 days ago

It wouldn’t look out of place in an old 1930’s air race.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
24 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

I find this a bit odd.

The stated power 400kW is not that different to a Tesla motor and at 15 mins duration 100kWh is a standard 300kg vehicle battery pack which weights the same as 325l of AVGAS (approx) which is a sensible fuel load……so unless I’m missing something, which I may well be, it doesn’t feel that special?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
24 days ago

Yes I saw these figures on Atlas yesterday and thought I must be missing something as I had just been reading about the Lucid saloon on there too. Would love some illumination on the subject.

AlexS
AlexS
23 days ago

With 325kg fuel you could be a couple hours in the air with that thing.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
23 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yes indeed – I suspect they were not pushing the duration envelope much but I would expect 45+ mins on the back of a fag packet for an economical cruise.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
23 days ago

Power is 400kw continuous 750kw peak output, weight is supposed to be the same as the normal fuel load for the aircraft its based off so that is 250-300kg.
The aircraft its based on has a range of 2.5-3 hours on aviation fuel. Remember fuel is still a much denser energy storage medium than a battery.

Last edited 23 days ago by Watcherzero
Andy Poulton
Andy Poulton
17 days ago

For a world record attempt it will probably have to run at full speed for a considerable time. The typical Tesla will very rarely run at full speed so you can’t really make a comparison

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
17 days ago
Reply to  Andy Poulton

I wasn’t suggesting a WR attempt.

You can’t run a Tesla flat out for battery thermal management reasons.

But an aircraft does run its engines at close to 100% just as a Tesla does when accelerating.

geoff
geoff
23 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Looks somewhat like the original De Havilland Comet twin racer of which I made an Airfix model as a small boy. This is more good news. There is a renewed air of optimism and a return of the spirit of pioneering creativity that made Great Britain and NI world leaders in aircraft design. We never lacked grey matter and design genius-only marketing skills and confidence. We designed and built most things that matter in the modern world then either abandoned them or gave them away to others to reap the rewards. I know this sounds jingoistic but the simple fact… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by geoff
BradyS
BradyS
23 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Yes.

Showing ” How to develop capability with two different technologies”

Kind of cheeky.

Tommo
Tommo
22 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Could look good outside RR At Goodwood

farouk
farouk
24 days ago

Going off what Andy P wrote, we could do with a modern day Schneider Trophy
(But for the drumming toy rabbits)

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
24 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Isn’t the Red Bull races the modern equivalent certainly as there won’t be float plane racers now.

Andy P
Andy P
23 days ago
Reply to  farouk

It was the Schneider Trophy that I was thinking of and nearly typed but couldn’t face the number of posters telling me it would need floats.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
24 days ago

Expect a modified MQ-25A sometime soon!

Boeingmidairjpg.jpeg
Andy P
Andy P
23 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

With an array of hamsters on treadwheels to generate the lecky to transfer to the fuelling aircraft.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
23 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

😂

Farouk
Farouk
23 days ago

Currently watching a TV series on Amazon prime
Cold War Hot jets
its a BBC production and does display some subtle anti British sentiment as only found at the BBC , but it is a good series , just starting episode 2

Farouk
Farouk
23 days ago
Reply to  Farouk
magenta
magenta
23 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Farouk, thank you for the link, appreciated. Having just watched Cold War Hot Jets, I feel that I should challenge you to point out the “anti British sentiment as only found at the BBC” It’s a ludicrous call on your behalf and not one I’m willing to let slip. If anything the series was exceptional, pro British, highlighting the exceptional skills of British engineers and designers, brave pilots and at times the forward thinking of various governments, I couldn’t find a single case of subtle or overt anti British sentiment over the two episodes. The reason I felt I had… Read more »

Expat
Expat
22 days ago
Reply to  magenta

Might be the bit where the Labour government presided over the sale of the jet engine to Russia. Allowing Russian jets to challenge US jets over Korea.

geoff
geoff
23 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Yes, a good series flaws notwithstanding Farouk. Imagine 3 different V bombers in service simultaneously!!

AdjectiveNoun
AdjectiveNoun
22 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

I stumbled across this on Prime a few months ago too. Would definitely second your recommendation.

Expat
Expat
22 days ago
Reply to  AdjectiveNoun

Also try when Britain Ruled the skies. Similar series.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
23 days ago

Air to air refuelling electric aircraft might be interesting….

magenta
magenta
23 days ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Ouch!

JJ11-Lightning-Protection-2-FLASH.jpg
JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
22 days ago
Reply to  magenta

But it looks like the fuel going in (at the nose??) is leaking straight out of the tail.

magenta
magenta
22 days ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Nah … that’s a super double charge, it’s getting it from both ends.

geoff
geoff
23 days ago

The one ‘but’ that niggles is that as with electric cars, I ask the question-how is the electricity that charges the batteries produced-er,diesel generators,coal fired or nuclear plants?

Phil
Phil
23 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Solar and Wind? We are the world leader in that after all.

Sean
Sean
23 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Well the U.K. only has two coal stations remaining which will be closed within a couple of years. Very little, this morning 0GW, is generated from diesel. Burning gas for electricity is a bigger issue than those you mention.
Not sure why you lumped in nuclear, like solar and wind it’s a green energy source with no climate impact (aside from construction).

Farouk
Farouk
23 days ago
Reply to  Sean

For years the U.K. has pandered to the Green lobby. We see the results of that with the protests on the M25 this week ((3 times this week by the very same people) and of course the now annual lights are going to go out during winter which has lead to the government not only dragging its feet, but actually cutting any fat we have in Electricity generation.( I have to laugh at how the current shortfall is explained as down to a lack of wind) something tells me that when the U.K. starts to experience a few winters of… Read more »

Sean
Sean
23 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

It depends if people’s homes are underwater due to climate change by then… Delaying over nuclear power has left the U.K. dependent on importing electricity. (The U.K. holds enough fuel for fast-breeder reactors to generate all national needs for the next 500 years.) Thankfully there seems to be progress on small modular reactors, with RR leading the market. As for “annual lights going out”, are you living in the back end of beyond? I haven’t experienced any regular power-cuts since the 3 day weeks of the early 70’s. I suspect you don’t believe in climate change though, so it’s clearly… Read more »

farouk
farouk
23 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Sean wrote: “”I suspect you don’t believe in climate change though, so it’s clearly facts aren’t sufficient to change your opinions.”” Well you suspect wrong, I’ve always been of a green mindset (something to do with how smoke from coal fires give me Asthma) and I have gone out of my way to ensure I do more than my bit: 1) Got rid of the car 2) All LIFX LED light bulbs (Including the security lights) 3) All Eco white goods (As in Meile) 4) Loft lagged with German insulation 5) When it gets cooler, we wear extra clothing and… Read more »

Opera Snapshot_2021-09-19_143644_www.bbc.co.uk.png
Last edited 23 days ago by farouk
Sean
Sean
22 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I’ve always believed that one of the characteristics of the British is to do the right thing, regardless of the cost. That’s a difficult ideal to live up to, but one I think the U.K. has with regards to tackling climate-change. (So I find it absurd that the likes of XR protest here instead of tackling laggards in Europe or China – thought we know it’s also because of their militant left-wing agenda.) So I don’t have a problem with the U.K. being the leader, just so long as other nations follow us at a decent pace. Green levies (or… Read more »

Expat
Expat
22 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Bring in self drive vehicles quicker
They will reduce congestion and reduce the energy required to make a journey be it electric or ICE by upto 25%. That’s 25% less green enrrgy capacity we need to consider.

Sean
Sean
22 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Oh I so wish they would!! But given the time taken to do the trials for electric scooters it’ll take the politicians and law, years to catch up with the technology.

(Disclosure- my company has worked on self-drive technology)

Expat
Expat
22 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Yep we don’t even have self drive trains which have be operating overseas for years.

Sean
Sean
22 days ago
Reply to  Expat

We have self-driving trains on the Tube; Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines. However the unions would cripple London with strikes if drivers were removed. So they’re retained to open/close doors and make announcements 🤦‍♂️

Expat
Expat
21 days ago
Reply to  Sean

If that’s the case it’s very sad state of affairs. But then again I’m unsurprised

Sean
Sean
21 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Yeah, we’ve yet to have a London Mayor who’ll stand up to the unions 🤷‍♂️

Expat
Expat
22 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I now it bonkers, it will take us 30 years to produce what China produce in a year. In fact longer as our emissions are dropping whist their’s are rising.

Jonathan
Jonathan
22 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Unfortunately Farouk there is one very significant truth in what you say, the U.K. is pretty irrelevant in regards to warming, it’s the US China and to an extent India that will really make the difference if our grandchildren get live reasonable lives or not. To be honest I’m not that optimistic for most of the planet. I agree I think the U.K. is actually trying pretty hard, but what we do as a nation and individuals is just a drop ( like you I’m purposefully doing my bit). If you going to be brutal about climate change the U.K.… Read more »

farouk
farouk
23 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Ah regards the annual lights are going out statement, I forget to insert scare, My error.

Jonathan
Jonathan
22 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I remember the 70s…..you never did know when you would end up cooking on the Parafin heater. Sort of exciting really

Expat
Expat
22 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Well we produce 1% and falling of global emissions. China is producing 28% and climbing. Whilst historically we may have contributed more by % were unlikely to be the sole cause of us all living on house boats I the future.

Sean
Sean
22 days ago
Reply to  Expat

But we can hardly hold the moral high-ground and lecture China if we don’t make an effort ourselves…
But we have to hope that the CCP loses grip of power at some point – nobody saw ‘89 coming.

Anyway as they say, every little bit helps. Though I think in the end we’ll need a technology solution – such as a planetary shade at Legrange Point 1 (tricky due to the instabilities).

Expat
Expat
22 days ago
Reply to  Sean

I agree and the UK has been doing that for decades now. No fan but Thatcher spoke at the UN in the eighties about emissions and cutting them.

Sean
Sean
22 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Unusually for a politician she had a science background which is why she acted on the issues. Her main focus was actually CFCs and the destruction of the ozone layer. As it turns out the effects of climate change would have been far worse already without the bans that were introduced back then.

geoff
geoff
22 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Good points Sean and Phil. Most other countries though are way behind the UK in generating clean energy. Electricity in SA for example is powered by coal and diesel in the main(although there is some Hydro) but constant power cuts mean that the battery power at the local petrol station would often be by diesel generators! Nuclear has been abandoned by Germany and probably Japan with the big Elephants in the room being the disposal of waste and the accident risk

magenta
magenta
23 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Renewable generation reached record levels, up 30 per cent compared to Quarter 1 2019 to 40.8 TWh. This was a 47.0 per cent share of electricity generation, the highest quarterly value on the published data series.

Has since increased and the trend is on the up. see – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/923057/Energy_Trends_June_2020.pdf

Johan
Johan
22 days ago

ok i have enough Charge drama driving to the local super market, so i buggered if i am going to fly electric