The 97,000-lb.-thrust engine due to fly after summer is the first of 2 units destined for initial evaluation flights on the Airbus A380 flying testbed MSN001, and will be used for evaluating engine operability, relights and handling.
Beyond engine- specific testing, Airbus also intends to use the XWB-97 on the A380 for integrated nacelle tests.
“It will do this to take credit for A350 certification and flights will run well into 2016, so it is not a short program,” said Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce’s COO for Civil Large Engines.
Source: Rolls Royce
The first A350-1000 is due to fly in mid-2016 and is scheduled to enter service in 2017, 2 years after the Trent XWB-84-powered A350-900.
Unlike the -84, which first flew on the A380 in February/2012, the higher- thrust engine Trent XWB-97 will not have undergone simulated altitude evaluation in a test cell before it takes to the air on the flying testbed.
“On the -84 we did altitude work in North America (at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee), whereas on the -97 we are using the A380 for flight-test data at altitude,” said Burr.
“We’ve already proved the basics from the -84 and we can get useful data off that,” he added.