The Trent XWB engine was fitted with test sensors to measure a wide range of parameters, and then mounted on the A380’s inner left engine pylon, replacing one of the aircraft’s Trent 900 engines.
After taking off from Airbus’ Toulouse facilities, the aircraft flew for more than five hours, during which the engine performed on a variety of power settings at altitudes up to 43,000 ft/13,106m. The aircraft’s handling qualities were also analyzed during the flight.
Airbus announced that the powerplant operated meticulously during the tests. Charles Champion, executive vice-president of engineering at Airbus said, "The engine performed excellently during its first flight-test, just as we expected," He went on to say "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 added, “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.”
Airbus stated that the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB’s flight-test program will run for seven months, during which 175 hours of flight will be accumulated. This is three times more flying hours than on previous programmes. The testing will be done under various weather conditions, including icing and hot weather conditions. The nacelle and thrust reverser system will also be tested during this flight-test campaign.
The main goal of these flight-tests is the systematic and early confirmation of all performance aspects of the engine and the associated systems.
The results of the flight-test campaign will be released this summer.
The first flight of the A350 is expected in early 2013.