The General Electric Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance says final flight tests on its Boeing 747 testbed of the GP7200 engine for the Airbus A380 have been delayed two months until June. Meanwhile, assembly work has started on the cores of the first engines for the A380, writes Guy Norris.

Despite the hold-up, attributed to delays in assembling final configuration hardware for the flight test engine, the Alliance remains confident of achieving engine certification on schedule in October. "The current schedule gets us through all the certification tests by July, and all the reports in by the end of August. This will allow us to obtain certification by the end of October, which we have to do before making the first flight on the A380, which is still scheduled for November," says the president of the joint company Bruce Hughes.

The first two production engines are due for delivery to Toulouse at the end of June, with the second pair due at the end of July. Taxi trials on the first GP7200-powered A380 are expected to start in October.

An initial flight test effort on the 747 was conducted at GE's test site in Victorville, California in December, but was not part of the full engine certification effort as the final version of the engine was still in development. This variant incorporates up­­­grades to counter stress in the high pressure turbine, as well as improved scheduling in the inter-stage variable stator vane control.

The GP7200 engine has passed rig tests for the 1.1kg (2.5lb), 2.5kg and 3.6kg bird ingestion runs, and is due to undertake the full engine bird ingestion test for 1.1kg birds on 15 April, and 2.5kg birds on the 25 April. There is no certification requirement to test a full engine with the 3.6kg bird, says Hughes.

Source: Flight International