Less than 50 days after the A380’s first flight, Airbus has reported an essentially satisfactory start to the very large jetliner’s test program. Preliminary results include “excellent” comfort up to the M 0.89 maximum operating Mach number, with cruise performance said to be “on target,” a spokesman said.
Engine Alliance GP7000
With almost 150 flights and well over 500 hours of test flying behind it, the Airbus A380 very large airliner’s participation at Dubai 2005 marks only its second airshow presence since the maiden flight last April. The program has been boosted this month by visits to airports in Europe and the Asia/Pacific region that will host early scheduled passenger services slated to begin with Singapore Airlines around the end of next year.
Two years after signing the deal at the 2003 Dubai airshow, Emirates Airline and General Electric are forging ahead with construction of a huge new engine test facility at Dubai airport. The 6,000-sq-ft, $45 million building, set to open in January 2007, will house an indoor test stand with a data acquisition system and engine “preparation to test” area.
Emirates Airline is constructing a new engineering center, engine test facility and headquarters–all of which it expects to open by January 2007. The $353 million engineering center will sit on a 136-acre site on the north side of Dubai International Airport and rank as one of the biggest civil aviation maintenance facilities in the world.
The General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance partnership was last month awarded certification of the GP7200 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is now preparing for its first flight powering the giant Airbus A380 airliner.
Airbus’ confirmation that it is to go ahead with the A350 XWB, requiring much higher thrust engines than the original A350, has put the cat among the pigeons in the U.S. engine industry, with General Electric and Pratt & Whitney apparently poles apart on what they will offer.
Delays to the A380 program have not made things any easier for major suppliers such as the Engine Alliance (Hall 4 Stand A9), which currently has its first four production GP7200 engines mounted on an aircraft at Toulouse waiting for clearance to begin flight tests.
Situated literally at the center of the show site, Goodrich Corp. has certainly made an impression at this year’s Farnborough with a new pavilion that combines a chalet and an exhibit stand, giving invited guests and drop-ins alike quick and easy access to information on its entire range of products.
Volvo Aero has delivered a number of post-certification enhancements to the RM12 twin turboshaft engine that powers the Saab Gripen. Some of these have been adopted by General Electric, whose F404 was adapted by Volvo for the single-engine Swedish fighter. The company said further improvements are possible, although its main emphasis is on developing lighter weight components for commercial airliner powerplants.
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