Airbus discloses details of first A350 engine flight
First flight of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB aboard a dedicated
Airbus A380 flying testbed brought the engine to "the edge of the flight
envelope of the A350" and generated "very encouraging, satisfactory
results", is the verdict of Airbus flight test engineer Emanuele
Such anomalies as arose during the 18 February sortie
can be addressed within "the standard development flight test activity
for this kind of exercise", added Costanzo. They included "very gentle
oscillations, visible on a plot" when the engine was at minimum idle.
was aboard the 5h flight from Toulouse. A Trent XWB development engine,
fitted with test sensors, was mounted on the A380's inner-left pylon,
replacing one of the aircraft's Trent 900s.
"Flying the actual
engine of the A350 on one of our airplanes one year before the first
flight of the A350 gives us a tremendous opportunity to identify the
engine behaviour, to identify the handling and operability of the
engine, and to bring the engine to extreme conditions," said Fernando
Alonso, Airbus's head of flight operations.
Alonso stressed that
the flight focused not just on the engine itself but also on the
engine's interfaces with the aircraft. The A350's generators, bleed
system and hydraulic pumps had been fitted. "This is a major contributor
to the maturity of the A350 XWB right from its very first flight," he
said. "The bulk of the first flight on the flying testbed was about
opening the flight envelope."
The A380 reached its maximum
operating speed of Mach 0.9 and normal operating ceiling of 43,000ft. It
was also operated at high angle of attack and at the minimum speed that
would be encountered in normal service. "The engine was fully
functional and gave us exactly the performance that we would have
expected at Flight Level 100 [10,000ft] and 108kt," said experimental
test pilot Terry Lutz.
"When we did the simulator preparation for
this particular flight, we noticed that engine acceleration and
deceleration characteristics were just slightly better than the Trent
900's, and we were very pleased to find that those characteristics were
almost identical on the actual flight," added Lutz.
kick-started a seven-month test campaign Airbus is pursuing jointly with
Rolls-Royce. This is set to accumulate 175h, "some three times more
airborne flying hours than on previous programmes", and will include hot
weather testing likely to take place in the United Arab Emirates in the
summer, plus tests intended to support Rolls-Royce's efforts to secure
European Aviation Safety Agency certification - for example,
identification of the re-light envelope and demonstration of compressor
surge margins. "We will make the compressor surge in flight to determine
the surge line of each compressor in new and deteriorated condition,"
Cold weather testing additional to that already
carried out by Rolls-Royce is unlikely to happen until the A350 airframe
is in flight testing.
A350 systems to be deployed within the
flying testbed campaign include the air data computer and a Goodrich
nacelle and thrust reverser. http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/airbus-discloses-details-of-first-a350-engine-flight-368694/