Rolls-Royce ACCEL Program Goes For the Gold

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Rolls-Royce’s ACCEL program and a consortium of partners want to create the world’s fastest electric airplane.  The concept has a recent series of predecessors, and a fascinating tie to an American speed champion. About five years ago, something called the TEACO (The Electric Aircraft Company) Bat, a formula 1-type raceplane powered by an electric motor, generated a great deal of interest.  It initially housed a single 80-horsepower electric motor, but once affiliated with Williams Engineering; the project added a twin-motor unit on a set of sleeved parallel shafts swinging contra-rotating propellers. Now, a partnership led by Rolls-Royce seems to have added a third motor, with all three singing in unison to drive a three-bladed propeller.  The airframe is new, too, …

SULSA Guides the Royal Navy

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We reported on the reputedly first 3D-printed airplane, a laser-sintered plastic craft with a structure we compared to that of the WWII Wellington bomber, almost five years ago.  Since then, the aircraft has been dubbed SULSA (Southampton University Laser Sintered Airplane) and taken its place with the Royal Navy. Jim Scanlan, lead academic on the project and professor of design within engineering and the environment at the University, explains, “Not all of our aircraft are 3D printed and the biggest one is around 60 per cent 3D printed.  At the moment we make this lovely sophisticated lightweight structure and then spend a week making all the wiring and soldering. It’s labor-intensive and error prone. Our vision is that we print …