Airbus will begin a short flight-test programme of the A350's Rolls-Royce Trent XWB on the A380 development aircraft early next year, ahead of engine certification at the end of 2011.
The new Trent engine, which is the only powerplant option offered on the A350, will be installed in one of the inboard positions on Airbus's Trent 900-powered A380 development aircraft (MSN001) later this year and begin flight-testing early in 2011. "We will fly a short flight-test programme of around 100h," says Airbus's flight-test chief Fernando Alonso. The tests will be focused on engine, nacelle and powerplant system integration.
R-R says that ahead of the A380 flights, a Trent XWB will begin ground-testing in June.
Airbus will begin a short flight-test programme of the A350's Rolls-Royce Trent XWB on the A380 development aircraft early next year
The A380 flight trial will mark the first time that Airbus has used the aircraft as an engine flying testbed. The airframer previously tested the A380's Trent 900 engine on its Trent 500-powered A340-600 test aircraft.
While the Trent XWB engine is bigger than the Trent 900 and has a larger fan diameter, Alonso says the contrast will not be as great as that between the Trent 900 and 500 when it was fitted on the A340-600 flying testbed.
The A350 is due to fly in early 2012 and enter service with Qatar Airways in the second half of 2013. The initial version of the Trent XWB is rated at 84,000lb thrust (374kN) to power the baseline A350-900 variant.
This engine will be offered as a derate of 79,000lb or 74,000lb thrust to power the smaller A350-800. A 93,000lb-thrust development of the engine will power the larger A350-1000 variant, which is due to enter service in 2015.