Airbus has confirmed that one of its A320neo test aircraft suffered minor engine damage during hot-weather testing in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates last week.
One of the test aircraft’s PW1100G geared turbofan engines, built by Pratt & Whitney, suffered a fault and is now being replaced. However Marie Caujolle, Airbus’s media relations manager, told Aerospace Testing International that the incident had not had a negative impact on the testing program: “With regards to the Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo flight test aircraft, the aircraft has successfully completed the hot weather tests in Al Ain, with all certification requirements met. After the last flight, we had findings in the engine and our partner Pratt & Whitney is implementing the necessary measures to address this issue. We are confident that the airplane will resume flight tests soon and the target to start the A320neo delivery stream in 2015 remains unchanged.”
Airbus’s number one Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G-JM-powered variant commenced flight testing in September 2014. It was later joined in the developmental fleet by a second Pratt & Whitney-equipped jetliner, which took to the skies in March 2015. A third A320neo with CFM International LEAP-1A engines completed its first test flight during May 2015. However, some of the test aircraft had to be grounded for approximately three months earlier this year due to a previous problem with the Pratt & Whitney engine.
Despite these delays, the testing program is nearly complete. “We are currently performing certification tests for the A320neo such as high-altitude tests, for example,” explained Caujolle. “We are also performing function and reliability tests. What remains are mainly certification tests, such as autoland, for example.”
Qatar Airways is first in line for the new aircraft, with delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.
October 2, 2015