The first of the three A330neo Family development aircraft to fly – MSN1795, a variant A330-900 – landed in Toulouse-Blagnac, France, at 14:10 local time, after successfully completing its first flight, which lasted 4 hours and 13 minutes. The aircraft was equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofan engines with the latest technology.
The crew of the control cabin of this flight was formed by the Experimental Test Pilots Thierry BOURGES and Thomas WILHELM and the Test Engineer of the flight Alain POURCHET. Meanwhile, monitoring aircraft systems and real-time performance at the pilot flight test station (FTE) were Jean-Philippe COTTET, Emiliano REQUENA ESTEBAN and Gert WUNDERLICH.
According to Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, “The first flight today of the A330neo sets another milestone in Airbus’ ongoing innovation journey.” He added: “Congratulations and thanks to all the teams that contributed to making today’s flight happen, as well as to our customers for choosing this very efficient and capable aircraft to provide them with an advantage in the market. We are looking forward to a successful flight testing campaign and the A330neo’s entry into service in 2018. ”
Airbus has developed an accelerated development program from the launch to the first delivery of the A330neo. This will include 1,100 flight hours for the A330-900 campaign – to get your EASA and FAA Type Certification by mid-2018. Another 300 flight hours are also allocated for the self-certification flight test campaign A330-800 – which will start at the right time. These respective campaigns will be carried out in an “airline” type environment, ensuring the maximum maturity and reliability of the aircraft at its entry into service (EIS) with the launch operator for the A330-900, which will be TAP Portugal. This phase will also define the aircraft’s mature documentation, which will be available to the airline operators at the time of the EIS.
In general, the complete flight test campaigns for both models will be conducted by two A330-900 and one A330-800, respectively. To complement this series of dedicated flight test aircraft, the first A330-900 normal production aircraft will be tasked to also validate the complete Airspace passenger cabin.
Launched in July 2014, the A330neo is the latest generation of Airbus’ market leading A330 product line and has two versions: the A330-800 and the A330-900. Both widebody aircraft incorporate the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and the new nacels, titanium engine mounts, new wings, and an Airspace by Airbus Passenger Cabin. The most noticeable new features of the A330neo are the new wing wingships with a total of 64m (larger than the CEO’s 60.3m wingspan) and the specially developed curved wing sharklets – which are based on A350 XWB technology. Less visible, but equally important, is the implementation of improved aerodynamic improvements in 3D along the overall wing profile. Meanwhile, Trent 7000 engines offer two-digit improvements in fuel firing and quieter operation thanks to the latest technology components, materials, new “zero-splice” air intake and composite nacelle, engine mount Fully-flared and also the largest slowest-rotating front (112-inch diameter) rotor with a 10: 1 dilution ratio – compared to the typical 5: 1 ratio of the previous generation turbofan engines.
Both the A330-800 and the A330-900 will accommodate up to 10 more passengers than their respective predecessors, thanks to their new Airspace interiors, which feature a number of enablers in the cabin to unlock more useful cabin space – thus ensuring each passenger can you benefit from a significantly improved level of comfort and flight experience compared to what is offered by any competing aircraft on the market in its category. The larger A330-900 will accommodate up to 287 seats in a typical three-class layout, while the A330-800 will typically accommodate 257 passengers in three classes.
To date, 12 customers have placed orders totaling 212 A330neos.