Rolls-Royce is targeting November for the first flight of the new Pearl 10X engine that will eventually power Dassault Aviation’s flagship Falcon 10X.
With the maiden sortie to take place aboard Rolls-Royce’s Boeing 747-200 flying testbed, the engine manufacturer is deep into the aircraft modification and integration work required to install the powerplant on the Jumbo.
Rolls-Royce shipped the first flight-test engine to a site in Waco, Texas at the end of the summer, says Dr Dirk Geisinger, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Deutschland. Development of the Pearl 10X has been conducted at the company’s facility in Dahlewitz near Berlin.
“So, actually, the first flight was in August, but inside a 747 rather than on the outside,” says Geisinger.
Rolls-Royce initially planned to mount the Pearl 10X on the 747’s upper fuselage but has since moved the location, instead installing it on a specially designed pylon on the starboard wing, inboard of the aircraft’s existing powerplants.
Curiously, the 747 will have three different powerplants installed: alongside the standard RB211s and Pearl 10X will be a Trent 1000 test engine.
Once completed, the 747 will be ferried to Rolls-Royce’s flight-test base in Tucson, Arizona, from where the maiden sortie will be conducted.
“November is what we are trying to target and we should be able to hold to that,” he says.
In the meantime, extensive ground tests of Pearl 10X powerplants has been performed at Dahlewitz including red-line and maximum out-of-balance tests.
Geisinger says the engine has performed “perfectly”, adding: “We expected a level of degradation, but it was minimal.”
Crosswind testing has also been successfully completed at the manufacturer’s US facility in Stennis, Mississippi.
In total, the Rolls-Royce has accumulated around 2,000h of test data for the Pearl 10X, including from the earlier Advance2 demonstrator.
Certification for the powerplant could be achieved relatively rapidly, says Geisinger, although this may hinge on Dassault’s schedule.
“We believe that we are typically so robust that the test campaign could be not the longest,” he says.
Geisinger declines to specify how many engines it will use in the flight-test campaign but says it is likely to be a “limited number”.
Dassault is targeting late 2025 for service entry of the Falcon 10X. It has yet to disclose the thrust rating of the Pearl 10X, simply saying it is the “most powerful version of the Pearl series, delivering more than 18,000lb [80kN] of thrust”.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce continues to be impressed with the performance of the Pearl 700 for Gulfstream’s G700.
“The engine is beating spec on basically every aspect that we signed up for,” he says, pointing to the recent increases in speed and range for the G700 announced by Gulfstream.
Although the G700 is yet to enter service – certification is expected by year-end – Rolls-Royce received US approval for the powerplant in September.