One could almost miss it, because the aircraft flies almost silently over the ILA exhibition grounds near Schönefeld Airport. Although it only has room for two people, this small plane is one of the main attractions at this year's ILA. The reason for this can be found under its bonnet - where other planes have a combustion engine and associated power units this aircraft features batteries, electronics for power control, inverters and the centrepiece, a 260 kW Rolls-Royce RRP260D motor. 

The Extra 330LE aircraft is fully electrically powered and is the current speed and climb world-record holder in its class. With a power-to-weight ratio of 5.2 kW per kilogram, it represents a milestone in technological development. And Rolls-Royce is already working on the successor generation of the engine, the SP260D-A with even 5.8 kW per kilogram. The aircraft was planned to be part of the official flight programme and the static display.

This is how we imagined this year's ILA. Every precaution had been taken to show all visitors what innovations Rolls-Royce is working on to make air travel even more sustainable today and tomorrow.

The main stand in Hall 2 was to feature an original Trent XWB, the world's most efficient large aero-engine in service today, which powers the Airbus A350 XWB and is being assembled at Rolls-Royce's Dahlewitz site neraby the ILA grounds. Also on display would have been a scaled model of an apus i-5 - an aircraft for which a revolutionary new hybrid-electric drive system is currently being developed between the partners apus, the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and Rolls-Royce in Brandenburg.

The stand of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology was to feature the 200 kW RRP200D electric motor for the CityAirbus Demonstrator, an EVTOL or air taxi concept, aiming to demonstrate future urban air mobility. Besides electrification, sustainable fuels play an important role in making aviation even more sustainable. Using the example of an electrolysis stack, our experts from Rolls Royce Power Systems would have explained to visitors how sustainable fuels will be created from solar and wind power, for example, in our Power-to-X pilot project in the Lausitz region of Germany.

At the "AeroDays" with its innovation platform "ILA Future Lab Forum" and the "Berlin Aviation Summit", our Chief Technology Office, Paul Stein, and Rob Watson, Director - Rolls-Royce Electrical, would have discussed with other leading heads from research, business and politics how to jointly address the challenges ahead and make the aviation of the future even more sustainable. 

Even if ILA does not start as planned on 13 May and we cannot welcome our visitors personally at our stand, we would still like to use the virtual ILA to showcase some of the things we are working on.

Pioneers of Power

Pioneering an electric tomorrow, today 

With over a century of innovation-driven success behind us, and unparalleled industry knowledge and relationships, Rolls-Royce are well-equipped to create a bold new world of clean technology for the world’s growing population. We have extensive experience in electric and hybrid-electric applications across products within our three business units: Power Systems, Civil Aerospace, and Defence – all delivering fuel savings of between 15% and 50%.


The future is electric

Clean, sustainable, safe and silent – that’s the promise of electric propulsion systems. It’s a promise made real by the technological advancements that make the use of electric systems technically and economically feasible.

We are championing electrification – developing, testing, and innovating technologies and systems together with partners to create the electric propulsion and energy systems of tomorrow. It is these technological advances in power density and energy capacity of electric systems that will make the aerospace industry’s goal of actively limiting the environmental impacts of flight possible.


Welcome to the third era of aviation 

We have over 100 years of expertise supporting our next challenge: making electrification not just a concept, but a reality. (Hybrid-) electric drive systems allow aircraft to be powered by alternative fuels or electricity. They are silent, and, thanks to the separation of energy and thrust generation, allow for completely new aircraft designs. Electrification of aircraft bears the promise of more efficient, silent and sustainable flight; reducing fuel consumption and operating cost for aircraft operators.

Current regulations around carbon emissions and noise pollution, the high cost of fuel, and efficiency concerns make creating a replacement power source for aircraft urgent.

At the same time, technology advancements in power and energy density over the last years have brought electric solutions to a stage where they have become technically and economically feasible alternatives to existing aircraft propulsion systems.

The next revolution in power, electric flight, will allow us to achieve our carbon reduction targets and provide fliers with a new class of quieter and more environmentally friendly transport well into the next century.

Looking ahead to 2030 – when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts there will be one billion more people on the planet, and six billion annual fliers – the case for championing electric aviation is clear.

Do you want to learn more about this new age of aircraft propulsion? Please click the link below.

Rolls-Royce | 25 years of #PowerOfTrent
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