The first A330neo made its maiden flight on October 19 over south-western France. The aircraft took off at 9:57am local time from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport and was powered by state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans. The aircraft, MSN1795, is an A330-900 and the first of three certification flight test aircraft to be airborne.
The flight crew were identified as experimental test pilots Thierry Bourges, Thomas Wilhelm and test flight engineer Alain Pourchet. Monitoring the aircraft systems and performance in real time on the ground were Jean-Philippe Cottet, Emiliano Requena Esteban and Gert Wunderlich at the flight test engineer’s (FTE) station.
Airbus confirmed that the A330neo’s certification development program will last around 1,400 flight test hours. This will comprise 1,100 flight hours for the A330-900 campaign – to achieve its respective EASA and FAA Type Certification around the middle of 2018 – plus 300 flight hours for A330-800 version, which will be certified in 2019.
Overall, the full A330neo family flight test campaign will be performed by three certification flight test aircraft, plus the first production aircraft (the latter to validate the airspace cabin prior to EIS).
The A330neo was launched in July 2014 as the latest generation of Airbus’s wide-body family, and builds on the A330’s “proven economics, versatility and reliability”, Airbus says, while reducing fuel consumption by a further 14% per seat.
The two versions of the NEO – the A330-800 and A330-900 – will accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout, and are powered by the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. They will be able to include up to 10 more seats, offer new ‘airspace’ cabin amenities, and feature a new larger span wing with Sharklet wingtip devices.
Pic: Airbus 2017 – photo by H Gousse / master films
October 19, 2017