Airbus has performed the first test flight of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engine, which will power the forthcoming A350-1000 twinjet.
On November 5, Airbus flew its A380 flying test-bed with the flight-test Trent XWB-97 installed on the aircraft’s inner-left engine pylon.
The crew on board for the first flight were Airbus experimental test pilots Etienne de Malleray and Hugues Van der Stichel; experimental test flight engineer Gerard Maisonneuve; and flight test engineers Emmanuele Costanzo and Jean-Philippe Cottet.
For the Trent XWB-97’s first flight, the A380 testbed aircraft had Rolls-Royce Trent 970s on its other three pylons. The Trent 900 is one of two engine choices for production A380s, the other being the Engine Alliance GP7200.
The A380 testbed performed a flight of four hours 14 minutes, during which the Trent XWB-97 was operated at altitudes up to 35,000 feet and over a wide range of power settings.
On the first Trent XWB-97 flight, the Airbus test pilots and engineers evaluated the engine’s operational and handling qualities over a range of true airspeeds, which ranged from from low speeds to Mach 0.87.
Because the A350-1000 will be Airbus’ largest-ever twin-engine aircraft, the Trent XWB-97 is the most powerful engine ever developed for an Airbus aircraft, rated to deliver 97,000lb (431.5kN) of thrust for take-off.
The Trent XWB-97 has a fan diameter of 118 inches, the largest of any Trent engine model to date.
Taking into account that thrust-rating certification for a turbofan engine usually requires the engine to demonstrate some operating margin above its maximum rated thrust, the 97,000lb certification rating Rolls-Royce is pursuing for the Trent XWB-97 may mean the engine theoretically could deliver rather more than 100,000lb of thrust.
In early ground-testing of the first Trent XWB-97 prototype, Rolls-Royce ran the engine up to a thrust level of 99,000lb.
Beginning around nine months prior to the A350-1000’s first flight, the Trent XWB-97 flight-test program will include hot-weather testing as well as icing-condition testing.