First flight of the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G took off on 15 May, exactly as it was planned more than two years ago - and ended only moments ahead of a rain storm that nearly spoiled the inaugural test.

"It was Mother Nature or divine intervention that allowed us to [complete] the first flight before the downpour came in," says Bob Saia, P&W's vice-president of next generation products.

PW1100G test engine

Pratt & Whitney

P&W will use its Boeing 747SP test-bed to conduct the engine's flight tests

The maiden sortie of the first of two engines selected by Airbus to power the A320neo kicks-off a year-long certification programme using a total of eight engines on board the P&W-owned Boeing 747SP flying testbed.

Upon receiving certification for the engine alone, P&W will then ship the PW1100G to Airbus to install on the A320neo for another year-long flight test campaign, leading to planned entry into service in the third quarter of 2015.

The key technologies the manufacturer is introducing are led by the fan-drive gear system, that de-couples the rotation speeds of the low-pressure turbine and fan, and also the ultra-high-bypass ratio inlet.

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Source: Flight International