Trent XWB undergoes critical blade-off test

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Rolls-Royce is examining data after performing the crucial blade-off test for the Trent XWB powerplant, the engine which will power the Airbus A350 aircraft family.

Blade-off testing is designed to prove that the powerplant will withstand the loss of a high-energy fan blade by containing any debris, preventing damage to the wing or other aircraft structures.

Rolls-Royce says the test was performed on 29 November. It marks a "major milestone" towards engine certification, says the manufacturer.

"The test was flawlessly executed and the results gathered so far are very encouraging, although it will take some weeks to analyse all data," it adds.

Airbus has been using an A380 testbed to conduct airborne trials with the Trent XWB. The first flying prototype of the A350, a -900 variant, was recently rolled from the final assembly line to a testing facility where it will await engine installation.