Airbus Military’s A330-based aerial refueling programme has marked a new milestone with the maiden flight of the United Arab Emirates Air Force’s no. 1 A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) – which was completed on 9 April. As this aircraft features certain avionics differences from A330 MRTTs ordered by other nations – and is the first to be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines – the certification and qualification phase now begins for these new elements.
News in brief
A successful first flight for the United Arab Emirates’ initial A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport
A new milestone with the first nose landing gear for Airbus A350 XWB programme
The first nose landing gear for Airbus’ next-generation A350 XWB has successfully been installed at the jetliner’s landing gear integration test facility in Filton, UK. This milestone will be followed by incorporation of the aircraft’s main landing gear, clearing the way for testing to demonstrate the system’s reliability and maturity, as well as providing data for certification.
The A400M undergoes low-speed take-off trials
Marking a new step in its testing, Airbus Military’s A400M has completed a series of trials to validate the lowest speed at which this new-generation airlifter can take off. The operations were performed in Istres, France, and are standard for the development of military and civil aircraft. During these tests, the A400M’s nose was raised until a special bumper fitted to the rear fuselage contacted the ground, as planned, at the maximum pitch-up angle of 13 degrees.
Airbus Military’s first tanker for the UK Royal Air Force displays its refuelling system
The “three-point” refuelling system for the UK Royal Air Force’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) has been demonstrated during handling qualities flight testing. Built by Airbus Military, these aerial tankers are outfitted with hose and drogue units contained in pods below each wing, as well as another installed under the aft fuselage. The FSTAs will be utilised for the in-flight refuelling of probe-equipped combat and transport aircraft. Delivery of the UK’s initial tanker is planned later this year.
The largest composite fuselage panel for Airbus' A350 XWB completes its curing process
The A350 XWB programme has reached a new industrial milestone with the successful curing of this new-generation jetliner’s largest composite fuselage panel. The 93-square metre component was completed by Airbus partner Premium AEROTEC at its Nordenham, Germany site – where the panel is now ready for its ultrasonic inspection, trimming and drilling.
A first flight of the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport for Saudi Arabia
Airbus Military’s A330-based aerial refuelling programme marked a new milestone as the first A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for the Royal Saudi Air Force completed its maiden flight on 15 March. The aircraft now enters its final certification and qualification phase for this version of the A330 MRTT, leading to contractual delivery later in the year. A second A330 MRTT for the Royal Saudi Air Force is now being converted to its tanker configuration at Airbus Military’s Getafe facility near Madrid, Spain, and a third will enter the process during 2011.
A milestone first flight for China Southern Airlines' initial A380
The first of five A380s for China Southern Airlines has completed its maiden flight, during which this double-deck aircraft travelled from Toulouse, France – where it was assembled – to Hamburg, Germany for cabin installation and painting. China Southern Airlines is scheduled to receive its initial A380 later this year, bringing the total number of carriers with Airbus’ 21st flagship jetliner to seven.
Visit the Airbus video gallery for highlights from this maiden flight.
The A400M marks a new milestone on its way to civil type certification
Full-scale fatigue testing for Airbus Military’s A400M has been completed, meeting a requirement for this new-generation airlifter’s civil type certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). To date, the A400M test airframe at Dresden, Germany has undergone 1,665 simulated flight-cycles – which is approximately five-times greater than the number of flights expected to be performed annually by each A400M in operational service. By mid-2012, a total of 25,000 simulated flights will be performed with the test airframe.
Korean Air’s first A380 is rolled out of the paint shop
The first A380 for Korean Air has been rolled out of the Airbus paint shop in Hamburg, Germany, where it was completed with the airline's livery. Korean Air has 10 A380s on order, and will become the sixth A380 operator after taking delivery of its first aircraft in the second quarter of 2011.
The A400M showcases its mission flexibility with start-up of aerial refuelling trials
Airbus Military has opened air-to-air refuelling trials for its A400M airlifter, beginning with a series of dry contacts performed today by the no. 1 development aircraft – Grizzly 1 – and a UK Royal Air Force VC10 tanker. These test flights underscore the A400M’s advanced multi-role capabilities, which allow this new-generation aircraft to perform aerial refuelling in addition to its airlift missions. The A400 also can serve as a receiver aircraft to take on fuel while in flight – further extending its operating range.