Rolls-Royce has begun testing Trent 1000 development engines at the facilities of programme partner Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) in Akashi, Japan.
The Trent 1000, for which KHI supplies the intermediate compressor module, is scheduled to make its maiden flight on the Boeing 787 later this year, and will power the fleet of launch customer, Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Other Japanese participation comes through programme partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, who produce the engine’s combustor and low-pressure turbine blades, and Sumitomo Precision Products, who supply the heat management system.
The “leader testing” element of the maturity validation programme, which has begun at KHI, is designed to accumulate thousands of hours of engine testing prior to entry into service, generating levels of experience which are always greater than the engines with the highest hours in service.
Satoshi Hasegawa, President, Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, KHI said: "KHI is proud to be playing a major role in the Trent 1000 programme, which has attracted many customers worldwide. KHI's partnership with Rolls-Royce demonstrates our strength in the design and manufacture of aero engines".
Shinsuke Maki, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Maintenance, ANA said:“Rolls-Royce has recognized the high cyclic nature of our 787 domestic operation and has listened to our request to carry out this unique maturity validation programme. We are pleased that the Trent 1000 programme continues to progress as planned.”
Chris Cholerton, Director, Boeing Programmes at Rolls-Royce, said: “The Trent 1000 maturity validation programme is particularly focused on the unique domestic operation in Japan. We are working closely with ANA to ensure our maturity validation programme delivers the highest levels of reliability for the full range of Trent 1000 operation, including their high-cycle domestic operation and long-range international routes.
“KHI is playing a central role in what is the most comprehensive maturity validation programme in Rolls-Royce history. The engines will be stripped and rebuilt many times and will be subject to diverse and severe cyclic testing to demonstrate the extremes of the Trent 1000’s capabilities.”
Meanwhile, the Trent 1000 has successfully completed two critical phases of testing on the company’s Boeing 747 flying test bed. Based in Seattle, the exercises consisted of demonstration flights involving senior Boeing 787 programme pilots, and trials to assess the engine’s performance in natural icing conditions.
Rolls-Royce Chief Test Pilot Phill O’Dell, said: “The Trent 1000’s handling was excellent, and the engine performed faultlessly throughout the icing trials where we basically flew through the kind of weather airline pilots spend their lives trying to avoid.
“This was the culmination of earlier flight testing, which gave us great confidence in the engine’s operability and allowed us to prove a new standard of software. This is a ground-breaking programme for the industry, given the ‘more-electric’ and bleedless engine configuration, and we’ve been delighted by the high standard of in-flight performance.”
Boeing’s Chief Pilot for the 787 programme, Mike Carricker, and his fellow project test pilot Randy Neville both took the controls of the flying test bed in the Seattle flights, which had to be completed ahead of the first flight of the 787 itself.
For the icing exercise, the test crew sought severe weather conditions off the north west coast near Vancouver Island, flying the 747 through ice cloud for up to 30 minutes to simulate the experience of an airliner caught in a holding pattern close to an airport in such conditions.
In earlier testing at Waco, Texas, the Trent 1000 – which was installed in place of one of the standard RB211 engines on the flying test bed – consistently performed in line with predictions during trials conducted outside the normal flight envelope, including engine re-lights.