Rolls-Royce's Trent 900 engine for the Airbus A380, which is not scheduled for certification until October 2004, is already running at thrust levels around 25% more than required for entry into service.

The programme's first development engine has reached 88,000lb (391kN) of thrust at the company's Derby, UK test plant - 4,000lbs greater than the designed capacity for growth.

Ian Kinnear, Rolls Royce's director - Airbus programmes, said: "The ability to achieve test running to these levels at such an early stage of development once again validates our low-risk, derivative approach, which builds on previous Trent experience.


"Throughout the range of technical data we have gathered so far, results are extremely encouraging and in line with expectations. The Trent 900 is designed with capacity for growth and not only achieving, but exceeding, that level so early in the programme gives us a high level of confidence going forward."

The Trent 900 is the first Rolls-Royce production engine to incorporate scimitar-shaped 'swept' fan blades. With blade numbers reduced by two to a total of 24 compared with previous Trents, the new technology delivers weight savings, better bird-strike protection and lower noise.

For the first time in a Rolls-Royce civil engine programme, the Trent 900 will include a contra-rotating high-pressure compressor system. The feature, which is used in some modern combat engines, straightens the airflow through the engine's core, producing significant efficiency gains.

As lead engine in the programme, the Trent 900 will be first to fly on the A380 in 2005. Service entry with launch customer Singapore Airlines is scheduled for March 2006.

Source: Flight Daily News