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Farnborough: Show A380 heads for rejected take-off tests

By Max Kingsley-Jones at Farnborough air show

Airbus is due to carry out the high- energy rejected take-off (RTO) test this week with the A380 that has been on show at the Farnborough air show (MSN001). Meanwhile, the first flight of the Engine Alliance GP7200-powered test aircraft has slipped into August.

A380 MSN001 has been in the flying display daily with partially worn brakes that were installed ahead of the show in preparation for next week's test, says Airbus test pilot Capt Peter Chandler. "It's meant that I've not been able to use full braking this week as we don't want to push the wear too far ahead of the test," he says.

The "high-energy" RTO test is being undertaken below the maximum take-off weight, to clear the aircraft for the "early long flight" and route-proving flights later this year. Airbus will carry out the full maximum-energy RTO test the end of the programme in case there is any damage caused during the test.

Meanwhile, the GP7200-powered A380 (MSN009) is expected to be handed over to Airbus's flight test department by the end of the month, says Engine Alliance president Bruce Hughes: "There's no real big hurdle left before it moves to flight test," he says.

Airbus had been aiming to fly this aircraft by the end of July, under the revised schedule that took effect last year when the whole programme suffered a six- month delay.

The Alliance has completed the full shipset of engines for the Emirates test aircraft and has all the parts for the next two test aircraft ship sets. Launch operator Emirates is due to take its first aircraft in October next year.

Flight tests on the first GP7200-powered A380 will not use production-standard nacelles. "Aircell still has quite a bit of work to do," adds Hughes. Due to the delay in the start of tests it has also been forced to slow down the supply chain. "We've done that to rematch the schedule, and we don't want to stop it because it will be harder to start it up."

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