Rolls-Royce is claiming the record for the world’s fastest flight by an all-electric aircraft after its Spirit of Innovation hit a maximum speed of 387.4 MPH in a series of flights on Nov. 16. The aircraft, an electric version of the Nemesis NXT kit racing plane, is Rolls-Royce’s test bed for electric technology and is funded by U.K. government innovation initiatives. It uses a 400-kW power system and Rolls has always said its intent was to set the records. Its maiden flight was two months ago.

The company claimed a total of three Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FIA) records on Nov. 16. It averaged 345.4 MPH on a 1.86-mile straight line flight, recorded a time to climb of 3,000 meters with a time of 202 seconds. It also flew the 9.32-mile course at the U.K.’s ministry of defense military aircraft testing site at an average of 300 MPH. The flights have to verified by FIA before they become official. Test pilot and Rolls-Royce director of flight operations Phil O’Dell was at the controls.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. So, a plane designed to go fast goes fast. Nothing to see here folks move along.

    I wonder how much faster it would have gone with a turbocharged racing engine? Or for how much longer?

    Or maybe the speed record to beat is the refueling. Minutes rather than hours? Or if at all if a giant diesel generator is not available on the ramp to recharge its massive chemistry set?

  2. The point is not that it could go fast; the point is that went fast on a much more complicated power system using very rare elements from a strip-mine.

  3. Wow! William and Arthur have a lot of anger!
    Sounds like a couple of old hasbeens watching the world pass them by.

  4. That would explain my success in life and love and the immense blessings I have received and continue to enjoy and share.

    I am impressed at your ability to deduce so much about a person based on an internet post. You must be quite the intellectual. I am thusly humbled.

    • Justin. In aviation, words have meaning, are specific, and are chosen for clarity. Propellor aircraft traveling 330kts was first done in 1931. Using the word “hate” is incorrect and inappropriate. Don’t be such a baby. 🙂

  5. When electric aircraft can achieve a four hour endurance plus at least IFR reserves and a recharge time of not over one hour (nice potty break time) then they will deserve the attention of everyone. Otherwise they are just gadgets.