Rolls Royce’s All Electric Plane Completes Its First Flight

Rolls-Royce completed the first flight of its all-electric aircraft this week. The United Kingdom-based aerospace powerhouse shared on…

Rolls Royce’s All Electric Plane Completes Its First Flight

Rolls-Royce completed the first flight of its all-electric aircraft this week. The United Kingdom-based aerospace powerhouse shared on Thursday that ‘Spirit of Innovation’ hit the air backed by its 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain.

Rolls-Royce has made an important step in its sustainability mission. Photo: Rolls-Royce

Great strides

The UK has been showing its determination to be a leader in electric air transport. Officials have launched numerous sustainability projects in a bid to develop cleaner forms of travel. For instance, it announced a £300 million (~$416 million) investment to develop greener air transport in 2019. It also has supported initiatives such as the ATI Programme, which is linked with promising developments such as Collins Aerospace’s 500-kilowatt electric motor.

Now, Rolls-Royce has been making significant progress in this field. The electric powertrain propelled its build with the most “power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.”

Rolls-Royce Spirit
Rolls-Royce is looking to offer top speeds of over 300 mph (483 km/hr) with the Spirit of Innovation. Photo: Rolls-Royce

Plenty of support

The aircraft departed UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site, providing a notable breakthrough for electric aviation. Major players across the wider industry and society have been keeping a close eye on these developments.

“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,” Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East shared in a statement.

“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.”

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the United Kingdom Kwasi Kwarteng added that this first flight symbolizes a massive step in the right direction for cleaner air travel. He concluded that the UK is at the forefront of aerospace innovation and greener forms of transport amid projects such as Rolls-Royce’s.

Rolls-Royce Spirit Plane
With 6,000 battery cells on board, ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) has to be achieved through clever innovation. Photo: Rolls-Royce

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Ambitious targets

The aviation industry will undoubtedly look very different by the middle of this century. Several firms have been working intently on electric productions, including startup Faradair and its hybrid-electric plane that will switch from passenger to cargo in 15 minutes, and ZeroAvia with a refined focus looking at larger aircraft.

Overall, with programs such as Spirit of Innovation, Rolls-Royce hopes to reach net-zero operations by 2030 with its new products. Moreover, it wants all of its products to be compatible with net-zero by 2050.

It won’t be too long for the firm to see the fruits of its labor. It is working with the likes of Widerøe, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft ready for revenue flights in 2026.

What are your thoughts about Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft taking to the skies for the very first time? What do you make of the prospects of the project? Let us know what you think of the program and its future in the comment section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Could Croatia Airlines Become The Next Airbus A220 Customer?

Following Airbus’ A220 Demo Tour in Croatia this week, Croatia Airlines said that the aircraft type would “undoubtedly…

Could Croatia Airlines Become The Next Airbus A220 Customer?

Following Airbus’ A220 Demo Tour in Croatia this week, Croatia Airlines said that the aircraft type would “undoubtedly be a good fit” for its planned fleet renewal. Has Airbus found a new customer for the A220?

Croatia Airlines expressed a very high opinion of the Airbus A220. Photo: airBaltic

Airbus was in Zagreb this week

Earlier this week, an airBaltic Airbus A220-300 aircraft was in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, as part of an Airbus Demo Tour of the aircraft type. The pitch was made chiefly for Croatia Airlines, the national airline and flag carrier of Croatia that currently operates a fleet of Dash 8 and Airbus A320 family aircraft.

A spokesperson for Croatia Airlines confirmed to Simple Flying that the airline is interested in this aircraft type. The company said that the A220 would “undoubtedly” be a good fit, listing several reasons for this.

Firstly, Croatia Airlines noted that it is an Airbus operator and that its maintenance division is certified as a service provider for Airbus aircraft. Secondly, the airline said that the A220’s characteristics fit into its fleet renewal plans.

This is true: Croatia Airlines does not fly its A320s very much in the winter months. At the same time, the Dash 8, which has the capacity to seat 76 people, is either too small or too unsuitable for much of Croatia Airlines’ network.

Croatia Airlines Airbus Dash
At the moment, Croatia Airlines has no aircraft in its fleet that is larger than the Dash 8 but smaller than the Airbus A319. Photo: Getty Images

Why is the Dash 8 too small?

Croatia Airlines’ routes like Zagreb-Frankfurt or Zagreb-Amsterdam require much greater capacity than the Dash can provide because Croatia Airlines is primarily a feeder airline for large European airport hubs.

For example, flights between Zagreb and Frankfurt are codeshared by Croatia Airlines, Lufthansa, ANA All Nippon Airways, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, United Airlines, Air Canada, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Air India, and LOT Polish Airlines.

Thus, Croatia Airlines uses the Airbus A320 family aircraft on its feeder routes to Frankfurt and Amsterdam. However, this is the only part of the network that can achieve a good load factor on this aircraft, and not even for most of the year. Even the Airbus A319 is too large for Croatia Airlines’ destinations of Munich, Zurich, Prague, Lisbon, Dublin, Skopje, Athens, etc., outside of the peak summer months between June and September and the Christmas holidays.

If Croatia Airlines had a smaller aircraft than the A319 but a larger one than the Dash 8, it would be able to operate flights to these destinations at higher frequencies and thus make itself a more attractive airline of choice for more passengers.

On flights from Zagreb to Dublin, for example, the Dash 8 is not a suitable option because of the high distance. So Croatia Airlines sends the A319. However, because this aircraft provides a lot of capacity, the frequency is low: currently, it is a twice-weekly route. This makes it an unattractive option for potential travelers.

Croatia Airlines Airbus A320 Dubrovnik
The Airbus A320 family aircraft are too large for Croatia Airlines. Photo: Getty Images

How could Croatia Airlines pay for the A220?

Despite its interest, it remains unclear how Croatia Airlines would fund the acquisition of the Airbus A220 because it is not a profitable airline. 

One potential option would be if Airbus allowed Croatia Airlines to use the money it paid toward an Airbus A320neo order, which it wants to cancel, for the Airbus A220. Given that Airbus organized the A220 demo in Zagreb, could this happen?

Do you think Croatia Airlines will acquire the A220?

Source : Simple Flying More   

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