One of the two engines selected to power the Airbus A380 Super Jumbo - the GP7000 produced by the GE/P&W Engine Alliance - will pass a major milestone next month when the first engine runs at Pratt & Whitney's Connecticut plant.

This will be the first of eight engines in a test programme leading to the GP7000's entry into commercial service with Emirates in late 2006.

The GP7000 will be certified at an initial maximum take-off thrust of 81,500lb (362kN).

The Alliance engine that will be used for the A380 passenger models is the GP7270, rated at 70,000lb thrust. The GP7277 will power the A380 freighter at 76,500lb.

"The present focus of the GE/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance is building and running our test engines so that over the next nine months we can validate our design in terms of performance, structural integrity, reliability and operability," says Alliance president Lloyd Thompson.


The Alliance now has more than 60% of A380 engine orders, with Air France, Federal Express, Emirates and International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) as committed customers.

The first engine, assembled at Pratt's Middletown, Connecticut plant, will go to a Pratt & Whitney test cell for a two-week evaluation. It will then travel to the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee for a three-month altitude performance test programme.

The second engine will go in April for endurance testing at the 81,500lb thrust rating.

The third GP7000 test engine is designated for stress testing in May.

The fourth engine will be the first to take to the air when it flies aboard GE's 747-100 flying testbed in September. Engines five and six join in the third and fourth quarters of the year, with the former conducting bird ingeston tests and the latter performing the fan blade-out test.

Engines seven and eight join the programme in early 2005 to complete the official certification programme. Additional endurance testing will continue, post-certification, to maximise reliability and maturity at entry into service.

The first GP7000 compliance engines will be delivered to Airbus in mid-2005 with first flight on the A380 in November. GP7000 revenue service will begin when Emirates takes delivery of the first GP7000-powered A380 in autumn 2006.

Source: Flight Daily News