August 2012

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Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 'Package B' set for first flight aboard 787 (Update3)

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner N787BX ZA003

Apologies for the lack of content here the past two weeks, I've been mostly 'heads down' working on features for our Paris air show issue. 

ZA004 will return to flying Friday with the first Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 'Package B' engine hung under its right wing, marking the beginning of tests on the updated powerplant meant to deliver specific fuel consumption (SFC) rates within 1% of initial specification.

The fourth 787 test aircraft had been down for maintenance since April 27 installing the engine and its extensive instrumentation. The left-hand engine is expected to be installed on ZA004 later this month, say program sources.

The Package B engine includes a revised six-stage low pressure turbine (LPT) design, high-aspect-ratio blades, relocation of the intermediate-pressure (IP) compressor bleed offtake ports and a fan outlet guide vanes with improved aerodynamics. 

Additionally, it is believed that the Package B engine also incorporates undisclosed hardware changes that were prompted following the August 2010 uncontained failure of a Package A model Trent 1000 at the Rolls-Royce test stand in Derby, UK.

UPDATE 7:44 PM ET: It appears the flight plan has been withdrawn from, scrubbing Friday's Package B engine first flight. 

UPDATE 12:45 PM ET: Program sources say ZA004 should likely fly on Saturday. A bit of archival digging began to answer a few on-going questions about the Package B engine. From a December 2009 report I authored just before 787 first flight (EIS planned for late 2010), I wrote:
ZA001 through ZA004 will conduct their respective first flights using the current Package A standard engine, while ZA004 will have its engines swapped out with the Package B engine during the middle of next year for ETOPS testing. 

The Trent 1000 engines featured on the fifth and sixth 787s delivered to All Nippon Airways are expected to feature specific fuel consumption within 1% of targets set by Rolls-Royce.
Further, a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 newsletter published on the company's website in March 2010 - three months later - calls the Package B engine the "EIS performance standard", suggesting that the Package A engines would never see commercial service.

UPDATE 8:39 PM ET: ZA004 has completed its first flight with the Package B engine, flying up and down the Pacific coast of Washington, Oregon and California. The aircraft was spotted on final approach to Boeing Field just moments before landing on its roughly four-plus hour flight.

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