By Juliet Van Wagenen | September 26, 2014
|Airbus A320neo and crew after first flight. Photo: Airbus|
[Avionics Today 09-26-2014] The maiden flight of the A320neo, the first of its model to fly, has landed back at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France after successfully completing its first flight, which lasted around two and a half hours. The A320neo, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines, lifted off from Blagnac at around 60 tons. During the flight, which took the aircraft around southern France, the crew explored the aircraft’s flight envelope and systems operation, while experts monitored the progress 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 fourth quarter of 2015 with first operator Qatar Airways. Airbus selected the PW1100G-JM engine to launch the A320neo aircraft family in 2011.
The GTF architecture allows room for growth through the additional 2 percent fuel burn enhancement, which will further reinforce the A320neo's boasted 20 percent fuel burn savings before 2020.