Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 ‘Package B’ set for first flight aboard 787 (Update3)

Boeing 787 Dreamliner N787BX ZA003

Apologies for the lack of content here the past two weeks, I’ve been mostly ‘heads down’ working on features for our Paris air show issue. 

ZA004 will return to flying Friday with the first Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 ‘Package B’ engine hung under its right wing, marking the beginning of tests on the updated powerplant meant to deliver specific fuel consumption (SFC) rates within 1% of initial specification.
The fourth 787 test aircraft had been down for maintenance since April 27 installing the engine and its extensive instrumentation. The left-hand engine is expected to be installed on ZA004 later this month, say program sources.

The Package B engine includes a revised six-stage low pressure turbine (LPT) design, high-aspect-ratio blades, relocation of the intermediate-pressure (IP) compressor bleed offtake ports and a fan outlet guide vanes with improved aerodynamics. 

Additionally, it is believed that the Package B engine also incorporates undisclosed hardware changes that were prompted following the August 2010 uncontained failure of a Package A model Trent 1000 at the Rolls-Royce test stand in Derby, UK.
UPDATE 7:44 PM ET: It appears the flight plan has been withdrawn from, scrubbing Friday’s Package B engine first flight. 
UPDATE 12:45 PM ET: Program sources say ZA004 should likely fly on Saturday. A bit of archival digging began to answer a few on-going questions about the Package B engine. From a December 2009 report I authored just before 787 first flight (EIS planned for late 2010), I wrote:

ZA001 through ZA004 will conduct their respective first flights using the current Package A standard engine, while ZA004 will have its engines swapped out with the Package B engine during the middle of next year for ETOPS testing. 

The Trent 1000 engines featured on the fifth and sixth 787s delivered to All Nippon Airways are expected to feature specific fuel consumption within 1% of targets set by Rolls-Royce.

Further, a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 newsletter published on the company’s website in March 2010 – three months later – calls the Package B engine the “EIS performance standard”, suggesting that the Package A engines would never see commercial service.

UPDATE 8:39 PM ET: ZA004 has completed its first flight with the Package B engine, flying up and down the Pacific coast of Washington, Oregon and California. The aircraft was spotted on final approach to Boeing Field just moments before landing on its roughly four-plus hour flight.
Photo Credit

10 Responses to Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 ‘Package B’ set for first flight aboard 787 (Update3)

  1. Smokerr May 20, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    That is an amazing number of changes to what was supposed to be a solid engine.

    I would call it unnerving.

    RR is having issues like P&W had some years back. Not good and worse on a twin (or not, the A380 debacle was as close as they come and still make it back safely)

  2. Dom May 21, 2011 at 5:46 am #

    Has that engine been installed. It only looks to be a couple of get off the ground. Dom

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  4. Trapperpk May 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Testing takes engines way beyond its operational limits to determine if the engineering got it right and establishing limits of its capabilities. In a perfect world everything theorized works in reality. Rolls appears to have leverage an opportunity of using the initial Package B project for enhancing fuel burn for Boeing performance specifications by combining changes on engine design from lessons learned on its Trent 1000A uncontained failure last year. Since Boeing had opened up time available resulting from program delays, electrical fire on ZA002 and its own redesign on the B787 electrical systems, it gave RR a window of time to throw in the kitchen sink on the package B before aircraft are shipped to customers. This will be a win/win for both the manufacturor and its customers. A mature aircraft with advanced engines is what the customers require. Over-all testing is working well by evolving the aircraft before 1st delivery.

    At the end of the day the future of both Boeing and RR ride on the Trent 1000B. They have a chance to get it right the first time not so true for some of the Trent engines on A380. “Failure is not an option”

  5. Guru Josh May 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Would have made economic sense to do initial ETOPS on Package B right away. But Package B has not flown yet and I’d guess 2-3 months of flight test on a 787 would have to come before ETOPS qualy can begin, which probably takes another 1-2 months. Didn’t you say first delivery would be in July?
    And then…if Package B brings performance to within 1% of spec already, why does RR spend $$$ big time on Package C?

  6. Trapperpk May 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    First delivery aircraft do not require ETOPS certification since they are flying in Japans non ETOPS network of orgins and destinations.

  7. Guru Josh May 22, 2011 at 4:09 am #

    @ Trapperpk: That’s right, but Boeing advertised to be ETOPS-ready at first delivery, be it relevant for ANA or not. Interestingly, the ETOPS test hours do not seem to be included in Boeing’s “RR flight tests are 95% complete” quote, as according to Mike Bair ETOPS takes “a few hundred hours”. I don’t think that 100% is meant to equal something north of 6,000 hours?!

  8. Roger May 22, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    The discussion in “Engine Developement Programme Update” says that Rolls is meeting spec within 0.1% not 1.0%. Am I missing something?

  9. Guru Josh May 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    RR says the the Package B engines are “all within 0.1% SFC of each other”. That phrase looks designed to be misunderstood in a very suggestive way. PR yuckspeak. Doesn’t say anything about where they are relative to the spec.

  10. Lisa Kearney May 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    The picture is of ZA003 at the Franborough Air Show.