Geoff Thomas/DUBAI

The Rolls-Royce Trent 500, which goes into service with Emirates on the Airbus Industrie A340-500 in 2002, will shortly begin simulated altitude testing as part of its continuing development programme.

The eight weeks of tests will evaluate handling and performance characteristics across a range of flight conditions.

"The simulation chamber mimics conditions these engines will experience in service at altitudes from 20,000 to 40,000ft. We'll be gathering data covering conditions throughout the Trent's normal flight envelope and beyond," explains Trent 500 chief engineer Colin Smith.

This form of altitude testing follows four months of sea-level running by development engines at Rolls-Royce's plant in Derby.

This included stress and load measurement of individual components and systems, and tracking heat distribution through thermal imaging. An earlier engine from the series is being rebuilt ready to begin endurance testing.


The first Trent 500, the only engine available for growth versions of the Airbus A340, made its test debut ahead of schedule in May, reaching a thrust of 68,000lb during initial runs. In service, the engine will operate at maximum thrust ratings of 53,000lb and 56,000lb on the A340-500 and -600 respectively.

To date, Trent 500s have accumulated around 140h of testing. The first engine to take to the air will be on a flying test bed next Spring, leading to engine certification in December 2000.

The Trent 500 will begin commercial service on the high capacity A340-600 with Virgin Atlantic in March 2002. Air Canada is the launch customer for the extended range A340-500 that enters service later that year.

Emirates is one of nine customers for the engine, having placed six firm orders and 10 options for A340-500s. Its first aircraft will be delivered in the second half of 2002.

With record advance sales of $5 billion exceeding any previous Rolls-Royce programme, the Trent 500 has been ordered for a total of 118 next generation A340s.

The engine has the same 97.5in diameter fan as the Trent 700 (which powers the Airbus Industrie A330) and a core scaled from the Trent 800 on the Boeing 777. The consequent bypass ratio of 8:5:1 increases fuel efficiency and lowers noise levels. Latest technologies incorporated in the Trent 500 include new fan aerodynamics, increased efficiency 3-D design compressors and turbines, and a low emissions, tiled combustor for ease of maintenance.

Source: Flight Daily News