The Rolls-Royce Trent 500, sole engine in development for new ultra long-range versions of the Airbus Industrie A340, has passed a major milestone by successfully completing its initial flight test programme. It remains on target for engine certification by the airworthiness authorities in December.
A total of 29 flights and 47 flying hours have been completed since June on Airbus Industrie’s A340-300 testbed, with a single Trent 500 replacing one of the four smaller engines.
Meanwhile, the first Trent 500s for use in next year’s flight certification programme on the initial A340-600 aircraft have been delivered to Airbus in Toulouse ahead of the contract date set three years ago. The engines will shortly be installed on the first of three A340-600s being used in the joint aircraft/engine certification process. An A340-500 will also be involved in that test programme.
A total of almost 2,000 test hours have now been logged by the seven Trent 500s used so far in development. Mandatory safety tests including fan blade containment and bird ingestion required by the airworthiness authorities have been completed successfully.
Orders and commitments for a total of 127 of the four-engined A340-500 and -600 airliners have been placed by 10 customers resulting in advance Trent 500 sales of almost $6 billion for Rolls-Royce. The A340-600 will enter service with Virgin Atlantic in Spring 2002 followed by the A340-500 with Air Canada later that year.