Engine Performs As Expected On 747 Test Bed
Rolls-Royce announced Tuesday
a flawless performance by its Trent 1000 engine during its first
flight on the company’s Boeing 747 flying test bed. The first
phase of the flight test program for the launch engine of Boeing's
787 Dreamliner is now underway in the skies over Waco, TX.
"We gave the engine a hard time for its first flight, but it did
everything we asked," said Rolls-Royce Chief Test pilot Phill
O’Dell. "It was very stable and predictable. Normally at this
stage we would have expected to leave the engine at fixed thrust,
but we gained confidence so quickly that we used it to maneuver the
aircraft. We will now move quickly to aggressive operability
Dominic Horwood, Director for Boeing Programs at Rolls-Royce,
added: "We’re delighted with this result. This is a fantastic
team performance involving the Rolls-Royce and L-3 partnership with
the support of Boeing. In addition to our certification program,
which is on track, this is a further step to demonstrating
confidence in the engine ahead of first flight on the 787. We have
only a few tests over the next few weeks to complete the
certification validation program."
The flying test bed, a 747-200 aircraft, was converted by L-3
Communications at the company's Waco base. This included removing
one of the original Rolls-Royce RB211-524C engines to accommodate
the Trent 1000. The modification also involved installing equipment
to dissipate the half a megawatt of electricity produced by each
Trent 1000 in flight. The 787 will use this energy -- rather than
the alternative of drawing surplus air from the engine -- to power
the aircraft’s control surfaces and cabin systems.
The reason for using the flying test bed at this stage is to
validate the interface of the engine with the airframe and intake.
Sufficient altitude test data has already been gathered for engine
certification purposes through ground-based testing, which is able
to simulate altitude conditions.
The Trent 1000 has
completed its altitude test phase at the Arnold Engineering
Development Center (AEDC) in Tullahoma, TN. This has included
complete icing compliance, engine operability and in-flight
restarts across the flight envelope. The engine has performed
excellently throughout altitude testing and the quality of data
from the controlled environment at AEDC has met altitude
In recent development work, Rolls-Royce also reports it recently
successfully completed the fan blade containment test. A Trent 1000
was accelerated to full speed before a fan blade was released at
its root by an explosive charge. The engine’s behavior after
the event was as expected, according to the company, and was well
within certification requirements.
As ANN reported, Rolls-Royce
recently delivered the first set of Trent 1000 engines to Boeing,
which are currently being installed to support the 787
Dreamliner’s roll-out next month.
Later this year, Trent 1000s will begin flight testing on four
787s as the program moves towards entry into service with launch
customer All Nippon Airways in 2008.