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Rolls-Royce Announces New Hybrid-Electric Flight i-5 Demonstrator Aircraft

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Rolls-Royce has taken one more significant step towards the ambition to provide hybrid-electric propulsion systems for next gen aviation

Rolls-Royce hybrid electric  APUS i-5 demonstrator aircraft
The Rolls-Royce hybrid electric APUS i-5 demonstrator aircraft. Credit: Rolls-Royce
  • Rolls-Royce earlier created an M250 hybrid power system and conducted ground tests
  • The APUS i-5 plane will now be used to demonstrate its integration with an aircraft
  • The M250 hybrid power pack also complements systems being developed for larger aircraft as seen with the E-Fan X demonstrator

Earlier this year Rolls-Royce announced it had conducted ground tests of a hybrid-electric propulsion system built around an M250 turboshaft engine. All it needed now was to find an airframe to integrate the system into. Rolls-Royce has now found that airframe and taken one more significant step towards realising the ambition to provide hybrid-electric propulsion systems for the next generation of aviation.

“Rolls-Royce has always been a pioneer in aviation and one of the key elements of our strategy is to champion electrification across all our businesses”

Dr Mike Mekhiche, Deputy Director, Rolls-Royce Electrical

Dr Mekhiche added, “Electrification is one of the most exciting developments in aviation since the birth of the jumbo jet. We are determined to use our pedigree in aerospace to be at the forefront of developing innovative propulsion systems to meet the needs of the next chapter in aviation. When this happens, it’s going to transform the way aero transport is designed and produced, reducing the time required to travel, revolutionising cargo delivery and changing the way we design our cities and infrastructure.” 

The 5 elements of the Rolls-Royce strategy
Championing electrification is one of the 5 elements of the Rolls-Royce strategy. Credit: Rolls-Royce

Who’s Involved

Rolls-Royce will be working with APUS, an aviation engineering company based in Strausberg, close to Berlin, and the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU), Germany, in developing a hybrid electric flight demonstrator based on its hybrid M250 propulsion system. The project is being supported by the Brandenburg Government under the regional programme to develop research, innovation and technology (ProFIT), managed by the Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg (ILB), and is scheduled for a duration of three years. The collaboration will enable one of the world’s most comprehensive hybrid aerospace turbine engine development and integration programs and pave the way for experimental flights on aircraft after 2021.

The Aircraft

This project will include an APUS i-5 plane to demonstrate the practical application of hybrid electric technology for a 4000kg conventional take-off and landing flight test vehicle. The system could be used across a range of transport platforms to enable distributed electric propulsion, including EVTOL’s (hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), general aviation aircraft and hybrid helicopters in the future.

The M250 Hybrid System

The traditional non-hybrid M250 gas turbine engine has powered more than 170 varieties of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, in both military and civilian service. Rolls-Royce selected this engine for hybridisation because of its maturity, power-density, ease of maintenance, and high reliability. The total M250-powered fleet has logged more than 250 million engine flight hours, with more than 33,000 engines delivered to the market.

Rolls-Royce M250 aircraft turboshaft engine
Rolls-Royce M250 turboshaft engine is part of the experimental hybrid-electric unit. Credit: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce engineers based in the United States, UK, Germany, Norway and Singapore developed the M250 engine into a hybrid-electric propulsion system.

The Rolls-Royce powered APUS i-5 demonstrator project just announced today integrates that new hybrid system using a M250 gas turbine engine with a high energy density battery system, electric generators, power converters and an advanced power management and control system. The power management system optimises overall propulsion performance in order for the system to be suitable across a variety of platforms, including EVTOL, while delivering efficiency gains, reduced noise and lower emissions.

Earlier this year hybrid version tests were successfully carried across three system configurations:

  • Series Hybrid: In this configuration, the engine operates as a turbo-generator that charges an on-board battery system, and does not contribute to thrust directly. All power required for thrust and other onboard systems is supplied by the battery.
  • Parallel Hybrid: In this configuration, the platform thrust is supplied by a combination of the engine (mechanical thrust) and the electrical system (electrical thrust), while the other power needs of the aircraft are met by the battery.
  • Turbo-Electric mode: In this configuration, the battery system is redundant. The engine operates as a pure turbo-generator supplying electric power for thrust and any other power needs on the aircraft.

The M250 hybrid power pack also complements the AE 2100 2.5MW system being developed for larger aircraft, including regional aviation, and is being tested with Airbus on the E-Fan-X demonstrator platform.

Rolls-Royce collaboration with the E-Fan X demonstrator aircraft
Rolls-Royce is working with Airbus on its E-Fan X project for a hybrid-electric airliner.

Funding

Funding for this hybrid electric flying project was requested within the framework of the ProFIT promotion guideline issued by the Brandenburg Ministry of Economics and Energy. The application was submitted in the typical two-stage process with the support of Wirtschaftsförderung WFBB and the Business Development Bank of the State of Brandenburg, ILB. The financial ProFIT support is provided by the State of Brandenburg from the European Regional Development Fund and federal and state funds. All project partners would particularly like to thank the ILB for the accompanying consultations and the European Regional Development Fund for the co-financing.

What Rolls-Royce Says

Dr. Dirk Geisinger, Director Business Aviation and Chairman Rolls-Royce Deutschland, said: “We thank the Brandenburg Government sincerely for its continued support and are delighted to be working with APUS and the Brandenburg University of Technology on this groundbreaking demonstrator program. This is an important step forward in developing propulsion systems that will enable a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport. At the same time this will further strengthen our Dahlewitz site, which is one of the hubs for the advancement of hybrid-electric propulsion in our company.”

Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical said: “We have already ground tested the hybrid version of the M250 gas turbine in a demonstration setting in Series Hybrid, Parallel Hybrid and Turbo-Electric operating modes. The M250 hybrid is planned to be used as a propulsion plant with power ranging from 500kW to 1MW and has the potential to transform aviation power. Rolls-Royce has pioneered every significant development of the aviation industry and it is only natural that we play our part in this exciting next step of electrification.”

What Brandenburg University of Technology Says

Prof. Dr. Georg Möhlenkamp, Chair for Power Electronics & Electrical Drive Systems, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg said: “We are very pleased to be a partner within this important project. Being responsible for electric hybrid system functional modelling, dynamic modelling of system performance and electro-mechanical system test support acknowledges our strong competencies in this field and represents a first visible step in our strategy to collaborate with Rolls-Royce on sustainable aircraft propulsion.”

What APUS Says

Phillip Scheffel, Chief Executive Officer, APUS aeronautical engineering GmbH, said: “As the supplier for the iron bird test airframe, installation hardware design and hybrid system installation partner, we are keen to take this project forward and to achieve experimental flight clearance together. Receiving funding from Brandenburg Government helps greatly to realise our exciting plans and enable significant learnings for a range of other electro hybrid aircraft systems.”

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World’s First Airbus Corporate Jet ACJ320neo Designed by Alberto Pinto is Delivered

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The world’s first Airbus ACJ320neo has completed its interior fit-out, designed by Alberto Pinto and has been delivered to the new owner, Acropolis Aviation, for private aviation charters.
Wake up refreshed after a long-haul flight in the comfort of our own sky-bedroom. Credit: Alberto Pinto Design
Wake up refreshed after a long-haul flight in the comfort of our own sky-bedroom. Credit: Alberto Pinto Design
  • Elegant 19-seat cabin with sleeping for 17
  • Focused on well-being for 12-hour flights
  • Delivering the highest levels of comfort, with an average cabin altitude of 6,400ft, coupled with air humidifier.
  • Latest technology optimised for work and leisure with fast Ka-Band internet.
  • Aircraft set to be extremely popular in the US, Middle East and European charter markets.

Distinguished by its aircraft registration “G-KELT”, the brand new ACJ320neo has been delivered to UK VVIP charter operator Acropolis Aviation after having undergone 13 months of cabin outfitting at AMAC Aerospace in Basel, Switzerland. The Airbus ACJ320neo was the first aircraft of this type delivered by Airbus Corporate Jets for VVIP configuration in early 2019.

Commenting on their latest acquisition, Acropolis Aviation says, “We are delighted with G-KELT and are confident this is going to be a very popular VVIP charter aircraft – especially in Europe, Middle East and the USA.”

Acropolis Aviation signed a contract for the Neo at EBACE 2015 and in 2016 they commissioned Paris-based Alberto Pinto Design to complete the design of the new ACJ320neo after having previously completed the interior design of Acropolis’ previous Airbus Corporate Jet G-NOAH.

“Selecting Alberto Pinto Designs was a natural choice for us,” said Acropolis CEO Jonathan Bousfield. “Our current, versatile cabin caters for a diverse range of travelers, including Heads of State, HNWIs, corporate and leisure clients. Choosing a design that reflects an evolution of our highly popular cabin will help us remain market leading.”

Designer Yves Pickardt from Alberto Pinto was responsible for the cabin interior design and congratulated the AMAC team who “brought our design to life beautifully.”

The VVIP interior will cater to many different discerning clients. Credit: Alberto Pinto Design

Accommodating up to 19 passengers, the ACJ320neo G-KELT takes long-haul flying to a new level of luxury and includes a private master bedroom with an en-suite featuring a full sized rectangular shower (the largest to ever be installed on an Airbus single-aisle jet).

Very much focused on the wellness of their diverse clientele, Acropolis Aviation has ensured their ACJ320neo G-KELT offers a full-sized kitchen galley and induction oven for guests to enjoy fresh meals during flights. An aircraft cabin air humidifier has also been fitted to ensure guests are left feeling refreshed after overnight flights.

In the event passengers don’t want a wink of sleep, the ACJ320neo G-KELT is fully equipped with Collins Aerospace’s Venue system and in-flight entertainment, offering 100’s of movies and TV programmes to view, watched across the 19 individual iPads and four large TV screens onboard.

Teenagers and jet-setting business folk alike can also rest assured they’ll have super fast Wi-Fi via the Ka-Band internet connection.

The first ACJ320neo was delivered to Acropolis Aviation. Credit: Airbus Corporate Jets

Based at Acropolis Aviation’s Farnborough Airport facility, this will be the charter company’s second Airbus Corporate Jet (the first being the previously mentioned G-NOAH, an older ACJ319 which came into service March 2010). Charter guests will now also be able to charter the new G-KELT for long-haul flights as it has a range of around 11,000km’s and can fly from the UK to destinations across North America as well as South America, Africa and Asia.

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All New G700 Business Jet Makes First Flight

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The Gulfstream G700 makes its first flight on the 14th of February 2020 marking the beginning of its test flight program.
Gulfstream G700 first flight February 14 2020 registration N700GA
The first Gulfstream G700 to fly – registration N700GA. Credit: Gulfstream

The latest arrowhead in the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation’s quiver is the new G700 jet. It was introduced to us in October 2019 where we were shown footage of the world’s new biggest private jet taxiing under its own power and attendees at its launch having access to a full-scale cabin mock-up. Since then 5 test flight aircraft have been manufactured including a structural test article that has already finished its rigorous load testing duties.

Gulfstream G700 first flight February 14 2020 registration N700GA Takeoff
The first takeoff for the G700 occurs 14 February 2020. Credit: Gulfstream

Gulfstream has now taken its vision for the future (a business jet with the longest range at the fastest speeds) and placed it in the bow and launched it for its first flight, significantly marking the beginning of its next phase: the flight test program. At 1:19p.m. on Feb 14, the G700 departed Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport at and landed 2 hours and 32 minutes later with the aircraft making the flight on a 30/70 blend of sustainable aviation fuel.

Gulfstream G700 vs G650ER
The G700 now supersedes the G650ER in length and width. Credit: Gulfstream
Gulfstream G700 business jet Features
Some of Gulfstream’s latest business jet Features. Credit Gulfstream

The G700 features the longest, widest and tallest cabin in the industry with up to five living areas pierced by 20 Gulfstream panoramic oval windows. The new jet will also have the industry’s lowest cabin altitude and 100% fresh air coupled with the industry’s only ultra-high-definition circadian lighting system; speakerless surround sound; and a master suite with shower. Knowing all this you get the picture it’s set to be a very comfortable experience.

Gulfstream G700 business jet Specifications

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This Is the New Embraer Phenom 300E Business Jet

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Not only does it come with a new speed record for fastest single-pilot jet, Embraer has added a host of improvements to benefit both passengers and pilots.
2020 Embraer Phenom 300E with Bossa Nova upgrade flying
2020 Embraer Phenom 300E with Bossa Nova upgrade. Credit: Embraer Executive Jets

Scheduled for deliveries in May 2020, this latest model is the third generation of the Phenom 300-series, which Embraer the Brazilian airframer announced back in 2005. Embraer says the Phenom 300 is “the most successful business jet of the past decade” and with an attractively high resale value, its no wonder only 3.6% of the fleet is currently available to buy.

In Business Jet Traveler’s 2019 Annual Reader Survey the Phenom 300 dominated the light jet category as favored aircraft type taking 40% of the vote, doubling the second place Citation CJ4 (20%) and the Pilatus PC-24 (19%). It has been the top vote-getter in its league for at least the last six years.

Since 2012 the Phenom 300 has also held the title for most delivered light jet in the market 7 years straight. The aircraft is in operation in more than 30 countries and has accumulated more than one million flight hours.

Over 460 of the original Phenom 300’s were delivered to customers before the E for ‘enhanced’ Phenom 300E was introduced. Now that 70 examples of the 300E have been delivered, Embraer has upped the ante again with its latest upgrades, in a pursuit of retaining and enhancing the business jet’s appeal and value proposition.

The Embraer philosophy of constantly striving to deliver even more value to customers sees new enhancements to the Phenom 300 series spanning comfort, technology, performance and connectivity with passengers in the Phenom 300E now having a 4G connection via Gogo AVANCE L5.

2020 Embraer Phenom 300E Bossa Nova Interior detail
The Bossa Nova Interior has previously won a 2019 Design Award. Credit: Embraer Executive Jets

New Speed

The Phenom 300E now has more speed with the latest enhanced aircraft being the first single-pilot jet to reach Mach 0.80. This also means Embraer has made the fastest and longest-ranged single-pilot jet in business aviation even faster. With the new enhancements, the Phenom 300E now delivers a high-speed cruise of 464 knots with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535E1-powered twins. That’s 11 knots more than the current 300E and based on five occupants, can travel 38 nautical miles further.

Award Winning Interior Design, Quieter and More Room

In the cabin, Embraer has introduced an option of the premium Bossa Nova Edition interior that made its debut in 2018 on the Embraer midsize-category Praetor 500 and 600. To further qualify its premium design, The Bossa Nova interior in the Praetor 600, won best design in the 2019 International Yacht & Aviation Awards in Venice. The latest and most advanced interior option features carbon fiber materials, sophisticated stitching and piano-black coloring.

To further enhance passenger comfort Embraer has also added a number of noise-reduction measures to enhance the in-flight and boarding experience. Up front the Phenom 300E’s pilot and co-pilot seat tracking is now close to 40% more, providing extra legroom in the cockpit

2020 Embraer Phenom 300E Bossa Nova Carbon Fibre Interior details
Carbon Fibre and gold detail in the Phenom 300E Bossa Nova Interior. Credit: Embraer Executive Jets

More Cockpit Upgrades

As well as the extra legroom, pilots will enjoy the host of improvements to the Garmin G3000-based Prodigy Touch flightdeck to deliver what Embraer calls “unparalleled technology in the light-jet category”. These include predictive windshear, emergency descent mode and a runway overrun awareness and alerting system. This feature acts as an additional pilot, says Embraer “and warns if the aircraft’s approach is too steep or too fast, thereby increasing situational awareness”. Embraer has patented this technology and is the first OEM in business aviation to develop and certify it.

2020 Embraer Phenom 300E cockpit with avionics upgrades
The cockpit has more legroom and avionics upgrades. Credit: Embraer Executive Jets

“Despite the Phenom 300’s extraordinary success in the past decade, our team of visionaries is always striving to deliver the ultimate experience to our customers, which means taking an industry-leading aircraft and making it even better, faster and safer,”

Michael Amalfitano, President & CEO, Embraer Executive Jets.

The price for a new Phenom 300E is US $9.65 million with some of the luxury interior options costing around $150,000 more.

Video For The Original 300E Before Bossa Nova Edition Upgrades

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