Airbus SAS, which is developing the A350 for entry into service in early 2014, carried out an initial flight test of the Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc Trent XWB engine that will power the wide-body plane.
The planemaker used an A380 to test the engine in the air, configuring the double-decker jet with three of its usual Trent 900s and one of the future A350 power plants, Airbus said in an e-mailed statement. The A380 flew for five hours, reaching an altitude of 43,000 feet, during the test flight on Feb. 18.
The engine test program is scheduled to accumulate about 175 flight hours, about three times more airborne flying hours than on previous programs, Airbus said.
The testing will be accomplished over a seven-month period. The Trent XWB engine is the only one selected so far to power the A350-800 and Airbus-900 variants. The U.K. engine manufacturer has an exclusive agreement to power the largest, A350-1000 variant, which is set to begin service in 2017.