Very exciting to see the Cranfield Aerospace and Rolls Royce JV power up and make system level integration tests under power, very impressive.
Rolls-Royce Testing at Cranfield Airport
According to eVTOL.com, Hari Venkitaraman, a student at Cranfield University, posted a video on Reddit of a large-scale electric tiltwing testbed at Cranfield Airport on Oct. 13. Roll-Royce later confirmed that it was their project: “As part of our activity with Cranfield at the Aerospace Integration Research Centre, we have developed a research rig aimed at helping us understand the propulsion systems requirements for future electric and hybrid-electric aircraft. Following the acquisition of Siemens eAircraft business, we are now firmly focusing our efforts on developing all-electric and hybrid-electric propulsion system technology that can be used across a range of aircraft including eVTOLs. Any commercial introduction of an eVTOL powered by a Rolls-Royce system will involve working in collaboration with a range of strategic partners such as airframers, energy storage, electric motor and power electronics specialists and avionics companies.” The overall aircraft propulsion architecture is similar to a concept design released by Rolls-Royce in July 2018. (Source: eVTOL.com)
Aerospace Engineering student at Cranfield University, Hari Venkitaraman, uploaded a video to Reddit’s /r/aerospace community showing an unknown eVTOL protoype with rotating rotors, presumably doing some sort of ground testing at Cranfield Airport. The model appears to be full-scale and features a tilting main wing and horizontal tail that go from nearly horizontal to vertical over the course of the one-minute video.
The model shows great resemblance to a Rolls-Royce concept that was unveiled in July 2018 and it appears this is in fact the same aircraft. The engine manufacturer acquired Siemens’ eAircraft business which would certainly benefit them in developing eVTOL concepts. Rolls-Royce has declined to comment on the appearance of the aircraft and it is unknown if and when it will take to the skies.