BLAGNAC, France, Feb. 20, 2012. The A350 XWB’s new engine – the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB – has made its maiden flight aboard Airbus’ dedicated A380 “Flying-Test-Bed” aircraft. The aircraft took off from Airbus facilities in Toulouse and performed a flight of over five hours during which the engine covered a wide range of power settings at altitudes up to 43,000ft. The aircraft handling qualities were evaluated from low speeds to Mach 0.9.
The Trent XWB development engine, specially fitted with test sensors to measure hundreds of parameters, was mounted on the A380’s inner left engine pylon, replacing one of the aircraft’s Trent 900 engines.
Commencing around one year prior to the A350 XWB’s first flight, this engine flight-test programme is scheduled to accumulate around 175 flight hours. This will be accomplished over a seven month period and will include hot weather as well as icing condition testing campaigns. It will also test the advanced nacelle and thrust reverser system provided by Goodrich.
The overall objective of these flight-tests is the early and systematic validation of all performance aspects of the engine and also the associated systems. In turn, this will contribute to significantly ‘de-risking’ the A350 XWB’s development ahead of entry-into-service. The first results of this flight-test campaign are expected this summer.