The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine has taken to the skies for the first time, powering an Airbus A380 test aircraft in Toulouse, France.
The aircraft flew with one of its four Trent 900 engines replaced by a Trent XWB. According to Rolls-Royce, the Trent XWB is the most efficient civil aircraft engine on offer in the world and will power the new Airbus A350 XWB.
According to Airbus, the aircraft handling qualities were evaluated from low speeds to Mach 0.9 and the engine not only operated flawlessly, but also demonstrated its new-generation fuel efficiency and low noise.
“The A350 XWB’s engine performed excellently during its first flight-test, just as we expected,” said Charles Champion, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus. “This is a promising start to the Trent XWB’s flight-test programme which will ensure a thorough real-life testing of the engine, nacelle and its systems.” He adds: “This will allow for a high level of powerplant integration, maturity and reliability to be achieved by the time it flies on the first A350 XWB aircraft.”
The Trent XWB is the fastest-selling Trent engine ever, with more than 1,100 already sold. At the 2011 Paris Airshow Rolls-Royce also announced that it will be the exclusive engine supplier for the longer range A350-1000 aircraft.
Chris Young, Rolls-Royce, Trent XWB Programme Director, said: “It’s a great moment to see the Trent XWB take to the air for the first time. Today’s flight is the product of years of work and demonstrates the progress being made on our journey to deliver this world leading technology.”
The Trent XWB ran on a ground test bed for the first time in June 2010 and test results have shown it to be the most efficient large civil aerospace engine ever produced.
Data recorded during a series of test flights that will accumulate around 175 flight hours and which will run for a seven month period, will validate results from ground testing and demonstrate the engine’s in-flight performance. The Trent XWB has already successfully completed more than 1,500 hours of testing, including endurance running, icing and simulated altitude.
Rolls-Royce has a broad customer base comprising more than 500 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces, more than 4,000 marine customers, including 70 navies, and energy customers in more than 80 countries.
Annual underlying revenues were £11.3 billion in 2011, of which more than half came from the provision of services. The firm and announced order book stood at £62.2 billion at 31 December 2011.