19 NOVEMBER 2012
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A unique aeroplane has made an appearance at East Midlands Airport. An Airbus A380 development aircraft has flown into the airport, the nearest to the Derby home of Rolls-Royce whose engines not only powered the first A380 to take to the sky, but the forthcoming A350XWB too. In the case of the new Toulouse-designed wide-bodied twin it supplies the only engine currently specified.
What makes this A380 different to any other is that it is has three Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines and one Trent XWB power plant. It is for all practical purposes a flying test bed. The idea of the visit, whilst a serious part of the engines’ certification programme, was for staff at Rolls-Royce to take a look at an actual engine fitted to the aircraft. Production examples will be available next year as the first A350 proceeds towards its maiden flight.
In charge of the A380 was Peter Chandler, Chief Test Pilot at Airbus. He said: "The XWB (engine) produces around 10,000lbs more thrust that the Trent 900, so you can feel a bit more of a pull on one side but it is something that can be managed”.
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