Toulouse (PRATT & WHITNEY) - The GP7200-powered Airbus A380 completed its first flight today, beginning the ten-month flight-testing program that will lead to certification of the aircraft-engine combination by the European and U.S. airworthiness authorities in 2007. The flight took place at Blagnac International Airport, adjacent to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse.
MSN9 - the first GP7200 powered A380
"We are thrilled to see the GP7200 take to the skies on the A380," said Bruce Hughes, president of the Engine Alliance. "Today's flight is a culmination of more than three years of intense efforts by the Engine Alliance team. We look forward to a successful flight-test program and our first aircraft delivery to Emirates next year."
Claude Lelaie, Senior Vice President of Airbus' Flight Division and Vice President confirmed, "The aircraft once again handled as expected and the GP7200 engines performed very well. There's still many tests and optimization ahead, but I expect the new Engine Alliance engines to be a success," Lelaie said.
Today's flight follows an extensive ground-testing program on the GP7200, in which the test engines accumulated 7,000 cycles prior to receiving airworthiness certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in December 2005.
"The performance of the GP7200 engines in testing has been outstanding," said Hughes. "The engines are outperforming Airbus' specifications for fuel consumption and are demonstrating excellent durability."
To help ensure high engine reliability at entry into service, the Engine Alliance continues maturation testing on the GP7200. To date, test engines have accumulated nearly 13,000 cycles and more than 4,000 test hours, with additional maturation testing to continue through 2008. The first GP7200-powered A380 aircraft will be delivered to Emirates next year, and delivery of the first production engines will begin later this year.
The Engine Alliance is already working with Emirates to ensure a smooth entry into service.
The GP7200 is derived from two successful wide-body engine programs, the GE90 and the PW4000. It benefits from the two programs' latest, proven technologies and the lessons learned from more than 13 million flight hours of safe operation. Certified at 76,500 pounds (340 kN) of thrust, the engine has the capability to produce more than 81,500 pounds (363 kN) of thrust. The GP7200 will ensure the A380 meets stringent Stage 4 noise regulations and QC2 departure noise rules, and its emissions are well below current and anticipated regulations.
The GP7200 engine has been selected for 82 of the 140 A380 aircraft ordered where engines have been specified for a 59% share of the A380 engine market. Air France, Emirates, FedEx, International Lease Finance Corporation, Korean Air and UPS have selected the GP7200 engine for their A380 fleets, resulting in firm orders for 360 engines valued at more than $5 billion.
The Engine Alliance is a 50/50 joint venture of General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
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