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Airbus’ most powerful engine runs for the first time

25 November 2016

The latest version of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB, the most efficient large aero engine, has powered the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft for the first time.

Airbus A350-1000 aircraft (Credit: Rolls-Royce)

The Trent XWB-97 is the sole powerplant for the longer range A350-1000, which will enter service next year.

The first test flight, which took place at Toulouse, France, marks another milestone for the highly successful Trent XWB program. The Trent XWB-84 has already delivered performance and reliability since it first went into service in January 2015.

The Trent XWB, specifically designed for the A350 XWB, is the fastest-selling widebody engine ever, with more than 1,600 already sold.

Eric Schulz, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “This is a great moment for Airbus and Rolls-Royce and I am proud our engines power this outstanding program and this particular flight. We are absolutely committed to continue to deliver new types of engines to meet the evolving needs of the industry.”

Didier Evrard, Airbus EVP of Programs, said: “The successful A350-1000 first-flight is an encouraging milestone for our newest and largest member of the A350 XWB family. Over the months ahead we look forward to a successful flight-test campaign, together with our partner Rolls-Royce – whose new Trent XWB-97 engine promises to deliver the performance to help make this aircraft the most economically efficient and capable in its class.”

The Trent XWB-97’s increased 97,000lb thrust is achieved through a combination of new high-temperature turbine technology, a larger engine core and advanced fan aerodynamics, allowing Airbus to increase the A350-1000 payload range and maximum take-off weight.

Trent XWB-97 (Credit: Rolls-Royce)

Trent XWB – incredible engineering by numbers:

• The front fan is just under 10ft feet across (9.8) and sucks in up to 1.3 tonnes of air every second at take-off.

• High pressure turbine blades inside the engine rotate at 12,500rpm, with their tips reaching 1,200mph – twice the speed of sound.

• At take off each of the engine’s 68 high pressure turbine blades generates around 900 horsepower per blade - similar to a Formula One racing car.

• At full power, air leaves the nozzle at the back of the engine travelling at almost 1000mph.

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