Two of Airbus’s A380 test aircraft are to be transferred to museums, along with two other testbeds including the first A320.
Airbus is moving its A380 MSN4 to the air and space museum at Le Bourget, the site of the Paris air show. The aircraft, built in 2005, will be the first to be transferred and is set to be relocated on 14 February.
MSN4 is powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines – having originally been fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 900s – and has been used as a demonstrator aircraft at various displays.
Airbus says the “iconic” jet will be structurally preserved and refurbished to “showcase its operational role”, and will have an internal exhibition for visitors from 2018.
MSN2 is a Trent 900-equipped aircraft, produced in 2005, and was long associated with a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding for a VIP A380, before the order was cancelled in 2014.
Airbus will take A380 MSN2 to the Aeroscopia museum in Toulouse, along with A320 MSN1, which dates from 1987, and the A340-600 MSN360, built in 2001. They will be maintained by Airbus Heritage.
“All these aircraft cover more than 30 years of flight tests and commercial success for the Airbus brand,” says the airframer.
Aeroscopia was opened in early 2015. The three Airbus test aircraft destined for the exhibition will be moved over the next two years, once a zone in its northern area has been prepared.
Airbus had five A380s in its test fleet, and Etihad Airways had once been in line to take four of them before it opted instead for new-build aircraft.
Two of the five – MSN7 and MSN9 – were subsequently delivered to Emirates for commercial service, while Airbus retained MSN1 for product development.
Source: Cirium Dashboard