First A330-800 makes maiden flight

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The first A330-800, test aircraft MSN1888, has taken off from Toulouse in France on its maiden flight for the dedicated flight-physics tests.

The flight marks the start of the A330-800 flight-test program as Airbus prepares to certify the variant during 2019.

The aircraft crew included experimental test pilots Malcolm Ridley and François Barre and test-flight engineer Ludovic Girard. The monitoring of the aircraft systems and performance in real-time at the flight-test-engineer’s (FTE) station were Catherine Schneider and Jose Corugedo Bermejo.

The A330-800’s certification program will last around 300 flight-test hours. Its sibling, the larger A330-900 family member, recently completed its development testing and certification program, which validated the A330neo family’s common engines, systems, cabin and flight and ground operations.

The A330neo was launched in July 2014 with two versions, the A330-800 and A330-900, which accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout. The aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, offer Airbus’ latest “Airspace” cabin and feature a new larger span wing with sharklet wingtip devices.

The A330-900 is expected to enter service with launch airline TAP Air Portugal next month after being certified by EASA in September.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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