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First A320neo completes maiden flight

News International-French

26 Sep 2014

The first A320neo to fly has landed back at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport France at 02:22 pm local time after successfully completing its first flight which lasted around two and a half hours.

The aircraft – carrying the registration F-WNEO – was flown by Airbus experimental test pilots Philippe Pellerin and Etienne Miche de Malleray. Accompanying them in the cockpit was test-flight engineer Jean-Paul Lambert. Monitoring the progress of the flight profile were the flight-test engineers Manfred Birnfeld and Sandra Bour-Schaeffer.

For its first flight, the A320neo, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines, lifted off from Blagnac at around 60 tonnes. During the flight, which took the aircraft around southern France, the crew explored the aircraft’s flight envelope and systems operation, while the progress was monitored by experts on the ground in real-time via a direct telemetry link.

This maiden flight marks the beginning of a rigorous flight test campaign involving eight aircraft encompassing all models and both new engine options – the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM and the CFM International LEAP-1A turbofans. Overall, the NEO development fleet will perform a combined total of around 3,000 hours of flight testing. The A320neo with Pratt & Whitney engines will be the first variant in the Neo Family to receive type certification followed by its entry into airline service in the 4th quarter of 2015 with first operator Qatar Airways.

The A320neo makes extensive use of weight-saving composites supplied by Hexcel. In addition to the HexPly carbon fiber prepregs and HexWeb honeycombs, the A320neo benefits from sharklets made from Hexcel’s HexPly M21E/IMA – the same prepreg that Airbus is using to manufacture all of the composite primary structures on the A350 XWB.

The PW1100G-JM PurePower engines from Pratt & Whitney that powered the maiden flight benefit from Hexcel’s HexWeb engineered core assemblies. Hexcel also supplies engineered core and HexPly 8552 prepreg using HexTow carbon fiber for the nacelles.

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