Airbus kicks off long term flight test research into new engine architectures with Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan concept
As part of Airbus’ on-going, extensive research and development into future technology options, Airbus and Pratt & Whitney (P&W) have commenced a series of flight tests to evaluate the ’PurePower’ PW1000G technology demonstrator engine which features P&W’s patented ’Geared Turbofan’ (GTF) architecture. The tests are being performed at Airbus’ flight test facility using Airbus’ own A340 flight test aircraft and will run until the end of the year.
Airbus is working with all major engine manufacturers and will conduct similar tests with them in the coming years. Moreover, through such tests, Airbus will obtain data to validate the fuel burn and CO2 emissions that could be achieved with each new engine technology.
The dedicated company-owned A340-600 testbed aircraft based in Toulouse, which has been extensively used for various technology evaluations, is already equipped with a full set of flight test instrumentation, and since Airbus has full understanding of the aircraft’s aerodynamic performance, it can easily assess the benefits of new technologies when integrated into the airframe.
Airbus EVP Strategy and Future Programs, Christian Scherer, commented, “Airbus is already delivering the world’s most eco-efficient aircraft. Sensitive to our position of being an industry leader, it is imperative to us that we continuously explore all technology developments to achieve our ambitious targets today and in the future.”
The trials on Airbus’ A340 test aircraft will focus on the PW1000G’s design elements like the fan-drive gear system that incorporates a gearbox capable of absorbing greater power levels than those previously achieved on other engine designs. The trials with Airbus follow P&W’s own flight test campaign on a Boeing 747 aircraft. Airbus will be the first aircraft manufacturer to obtain flight test results from the PW1000G, and these will contribute to Airbus’ long-term R&D assessment of available technologies.
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