The Rolls-Royce Trent 900 turbofan had a 3h 40min maiden flight aboard Airbus's A340-300 testbed on 17 May. The powerplant - lead engine for the A380, which is expected to fly in early 2005 - is due to undergo a 50-60h test programme involving about 30 flights over the next four months, says Airbus. To be initially rated at 70,000lb (312kN) for the A380, the Trent 900 is the most powerful engine to fly on any Airbus aircraft. The flight trials will investigate some of the new engine-driven systems that will be used by the A380 including 345bar (5,000in2) hydraulic pumps and variable-frequency electrical generators. Flight trials of the rival Engine Alliance GP7200 on General Electric's 747-100 flying testbed are due to begin in the third quarter.