Rolls-Royce unveils new VTOL concept

Rolls-Royce PLC unveiled its own VTOL concept at Farnborough airshow today.

Shortly after the announcement that Aston Martin will be developing a VTOL with Rolls-Royce engines, Rolls unveiled its own four-to-five passenger hybrid-VTOL.

Rolls-Royce has opted for its tried and tested M250 turbine engine to power the aircraft. It was chosen specifically for its low noise profile. A battery will also be fitted to provide energy for take-off.

The early specifications show the aircraft is looking for four-to-five passengers and speeds of up to 250mph for approximately 500 miles. The battery will not require recharging as it is charged by the gas turbine.

The company is also seeking collaborations with airframe makers to help build the prototype.

The manufacture stated on its website: “We believe that given the work we are doing today to develop hybrid electric propulsion capabilities, this model could be available by the early- to mid-2020s, provided that a viable commercial model for its introduction can be created.”

The aircraft’s wings will be able to rotate 90 degrees, allowing the four propellers on the wings to lift whilst relying on the two rear propellers for thrust.

Rob Watson, who heads up Rolls-Royce’s electrical team, said: “Electrification is an exciting and inescapable trend across industrial technology markets and while the move to more electric propulsion will be gradual for us, it will ultimately be a revolution.

“Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight. We are well placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners.”


Early specifications:

- Flexible aircraft platform for personal, commercial passenger, cargo and military applications

- Tilting wings for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL)

- At cruise height the propellers on the wing fold away to reduce drag and cabin noise, the craft then uses the two rear propellers for thrust

- Versatile 4/5 seat cabin

- Range 500 miles, cruise speed 250 mph

- M250-based hybrid propulsion system

- The M250 hybrid electric engine will deliver approx. 500kW electrical power

- High energy-density battery to provide additional climb power

- 6 propulsion/lift motors with embedded power electronics

- Offering customers new capability at vehicle, system and component level