The General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance GP7200 and the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 have both completed initial rig tests as the Airbus A380 powerplants progress towards their first full test runs.

MTU Aero Engines has completed the first phase of testing on its low-pressure turbine (LPT) for the GP7200 powerplant, while R-R has validated low emissions forecasts on its Trent 900 test rig and has proved the durability of new-style fan blades and the fan containment system developed by Goodrich Aerostructures.

Munich, Germany-based MTU, which has a 22.5% stake in the GP7000 programme, including the A380's GP7200, says "the tests corroborated the findings of the concept phase and revealed additional unexpected potential". Accomplishments included rotor clearance testing and clocking, a procedure in which the nozzle vanes and bladed bearing support upstream of the turbine are rotated circumferentially to reduce flow losses and boost efficiency. MTU conducted 65h of tests of the five-stage LPT at Stuttgart University's altitude test facility.

The LPT for the GP7200 is based on a P&W PW4000 design, and the first full engine test is scheduled for February next year, with entry into service planned for September 2006 on the A380 with Emirates.

R-R is hoping to have its first full Trent 900 test run in March, and says early production examples of the scimitar-shaped fan blades have been tested for birdstrike survivability. Combustor testing included emissions measurements and altitude relights under rig conditions. R-R says emissions results were in line with predictions, and that testing of the electronic engine control is on schedule following the delivery of the first units by Hamilton Sundstrand. Seven Trent 900s will be used in the test programme, and the engine is due to enter service as the A380 launch engine in March 2006 with Singapore Airlines.

Meanwhile, FiatAvio has delivered the first Trent 900 accessory gearbox, 24 weeks after the definition of the technical and functional requirements by R-R and Airbus.

Source: Flight International