A380 powerplant set for parallel test programmes after earning EASA certification

Rolls-Royce is gearing up to begin parallel engine and propulsion system cycle-endurance tests on the Trent 900 for the Airbus A380, having achieved European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification at the end of last month.

The two test programmes, starting later this month with the engine cycle-endurance effort, will see each engine notch up around 3,000 cycles. The propulsion cycle tests will include operations of the nacelle and thrust reverser and "will be particularly important for Hurel-Hispano", says Trent 900 marketing manager Martin Holmes.

R-R has shipped five engines to the A380 final assembly line at Toulouse, and the first two have been mounted on the first aircraft. Two of the other three have "been podded up" by Hurel-Hispano in preparation for installation, adds Holmes. Overall, R-R plans to deliver a further 13 engines to support flight tests with the first four A380s. The fifth A380 is set to be powered by the General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance GP7200.

The Trent 900 has been certificated at 80,000lb thrust (356kN), although it will initially enter service derated to 70,000lb. The engine, which first ran in March 2003, reached a maximum thrust of 93,000lb during tests. Certification was achieved after the standard tests for water, hail and ice ingestion, but also after successfully completing the 2.5kg (5.5lb) "flocking" bird ingestion test.

"That was a new, high-energy impact test, and it was the first time anyone has done an engine test on that size of flocking bird," says R-R airlines marketing vice-president Robert Nuttall, adding the positive outcome of the May test was a "significant result."

The June blade-off test was also the first time R-R had performed this crucial test on a production engine fitted with highly swept wide-chord fan blade, all previous similar tests having been performed on developmental engines. The 150h "red line" endurance test was also completed in May, while tests of the Trent 900 on the A340-300 flying testbed finished in August.

Airbus will formally roll out the first A380 test aircraft at a "reveal ceremony" in Toulouse on 18 January. The aircraft is expected to fly around mid-February 2005, with delivery to launch customer Singapore Airlines due to follow around 12-13 months later.



Source: Flight International