PHOTO CREDIT: Airbus

On Oct. 14, Airbus completed its first test flight of a PurePower PW1000G engine (formerly the Geared Turbofan) using an A340-600 in Toulouse. The PW1000G proved efficiency at high power as the aircraft took off successfully using all four engines. "The engine operated without any issue," a spokesperson from Airbus told AP. "The flight test instrumentation was okay and flying took place again the following day, which is another sign of confidence in the operations." Tests of the PW1000G, which will run until the end of the year, are expected to produce data that can gauge fuel burn and CO2 emissions levels as well as contribute to Airbus's R&D assessment of available technologies. The aircraft maker's A340-600 testbed aircraft in Toulouse is designed for various evaluations and is equipped with ample flight test instrumentation. "The PurePower PW1000G engine continues to perform flawlessly and has accumulated more than 300 hours of ground and flight testing to date," Pratt VP-Next Generation Product Family Bob Saia said. Prior to the A340-600 test, the engine completed 12 flights and ran approximately 43 hr., with tests focused on performance and operability. "The first phase of our flight test program included full-power takeoffs, inflight performance up to 40,000 feet altitude, engine operability including inflight starting and engine operation during extreme aircraft maneuvers. The PW1000G engine's performance has met all of our pre-flight performance targets," Saia noted. Last year, the PW1000G was selected to power the Mitsubishi Regional Jet and Bombardier CSeries. In March the MRJ program announced its first customer with an order from ANA, and in July Lufthansa expressed interest in the CSeries. Both aircraft are scheduled to enter service in 2013. The trials on the A340-600, which follow Pratt's own flight test campaign on a 747, will focus on such PW1000G design elements as the fan-drive gear system that incorporates a gearbox capable of absorbing greater power levels than those previously achieved on other engine designs. "Airbus is already delivering the world's most eco-efficient aircraft," remarked Executive VP-Strategy and Future Programs Christian Scherer. "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."