Toulouse, France, 19 October 2017 — The first Airbus A330neo took off this morning from Toulouse-Blagnac airport at 09.57 hrs local time, for its maiden flight taking place over south-western France. The aircraft, MSN1795, is an A330-900 and the first of three certification flight-test aircraft to fly, powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans.
The crew in the cockpit on board this flight comprise: Experimental Test Pilots Thierry Bourges, Thomas Wilhelm and Test-Flight Engineer Alain Pourchet. Meanwhile, monitoring the aircraft systems and performance in real-time at the flight-test-engineer’s (FTE) station are Jean-Philippe Cottet, Emiliano Requena Esteban and Gert Wunderlich.
The A330neo’s certification development programme itself 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).
Launched in July 2014, the latest generation of Airbus’ widebody family, the A330neo builds on the A330’s proven economics, versatility and reliability while reducing fuel consumption by a further 14 % per seat. The NEO’s two versions – the A330-800 and A330-900 – will accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout, are powered by the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, accommodate up to 10 more seats, offer new “Airspace” cabin amenities, and feature a new larger span wing with Sharklet wingtip devices.
To date twelve customers have placed orders for a total of 212 A330neos.
Flight-testing campaign overview. This could flexibly evolve as the programme progresses) are currently envisaged as follows:
• A330-900 MSN1795 will be dedicated to handling qualities, performance, systems and flight control laws validation. This aircraft will perform the cold-weather campaigns, EIS preparation, and will be fitted with the ‘full’ flight-test instrumentation (FTI). The aircraft will also be fitted with the ‘Dual-HUD’ cockpit system, Honeywell FMS and Satcoms, and Messier-Goodrich brakes options. MSN1795 will also feature activated avionics functions including FLS, GLS, ATSAW, T3CAS and ROPS.
• A330-900 MSN1813 will be dedicated to validating aerodynamic and engine performance, the autoland function, and will perform route-proving, ETOPS, and hot-and-high campaigns, as well as airline operations validation. The aircraft will be fitted with the full FTI and the various avionics functions, and will introduce testing of the Thales FMS, Iridium Satcom and Honeywell brakes options. MSN1813 will also feature the new Airspace “Refresh” lavatory module.
• A330-900 MSN1819 is the first production A330neo and will feature the first full Airspace cabin. During its flight-test duties (ie prior to its EIS but not part of the actual “certification” testing) this aircraft will be fitted with a ‘light’ FTI for production & cabin checks, and will be used to validate cabin and air conditioning performance.
• A330-800 MSN 1888 will perform the certification tasks for this smaller and longer-range member of the A330neo family. It will feature the ‘full’ FTI, the dual-HUD, Honeywell FMS and Satcoms, Messier-Goodrich brakes, and the full suite of activated avionics functions (eg. FLS, GLS, ATSAW, T3CAS and ROPS). Certification of this variant is planned for 2019. //