Posts Tagged 'First flight'

First Flight of the Airbus A350

The brand new Airbus A350 aircraft has taken to the skies for the first time ever on June 14, 2013 (earlier today). A very much awaited moment for the aviation world – and the 33 customers who have firm orders for the type – has happened, and the plane worked flawlessly. The first flying fuselage is an A350-900 version (the medium size of the type).

Airbus A350 XWB First flight (Live from Airbus.com)

The Extra Wide Body (XWB) plane took off (see video) from Tolouse-Blagnac airport at 10:00 am local time. The first flight is a very important milestone in the life of a new aircraft type, that has been preceded by the manufacturing of different parts, transporting them to Toulouse, building the actual airplane, installing the wires, connecting the engines, running ground tests, engine power up (happened on June 2nd) and also taxi tests, when the plane rolled-up and down the runway by its own power. The fuel efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines on MSN1 are also new, and this flight marks the first flight of those engines as well. The A350 is planned to be more fuel efficient and have operation costs up to 8% lower than the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus A350 XWB First flight (Live from Airbus.com)

Nearly two hours into the flight, above the Northern part of the Pyrenees  Mountains Peter Chandler has confirmed over radio in the Airbus.com live coverage that “All is going pretty well, the weather is beautiful up here and the plane behaves wonderful. We are climbing up higher to do some higher speed tests“. The first flight took nearly 4 hours altogether and ended with a smooth landing (see video).

Airbus A350 XWB First flight Path (from flightradar24.com)

The flight path on flightradar24.com

The A350 XWB is the all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions and seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. The new family will bring a step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category, using 25 per cent less fuel and providing an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions. Scheduled for entry-into-service in second half of 2014, the A350 XWB has already won 613 firm orders from 33 customers worldwide as mentioned above.

A350 XWB First flight crew - by Airbus

The A350 is the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon fibre-reinfoced polymer. The launch customer is Qatar Airways (who is soon to take its first Airbus A380 as well) with 80 pieces of the plane on firm order.

Besides this first test aircraft, two more of the type are soon to join the test fleet as they are already on the final assembly line. The third fuselage will be the first one to feature a full internal cabin as well, the other two are equipped with in-flight test lab computers on most of their deck and water tanks for heavy flight tests.

by balint01

Boeing 747-8I First Flight

More than a year after the successful first flight of the Boeing 747-8 Freighter version, the passenger version of the updated JumboJet has taken to the skies for the first time as well.

On March 20, 2011, the latest version of the legendary Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet, the 747-8I (the “I” stand for “Intercontinental”) has taken off from Paine Field at 9:59 local time, to land at Boeing Field at 14:24 – after four and a half hours in the air. The plane was piloted by Boeing 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein and captain Paul Stemer. They told the media that the 747-8I systems as well as the four General Electric GEnx-2B engines performed as expected, as the plane reached 6096 meters altitude and 463 km/h (250 knots) speed.

Test plane RC001 in “Sunrise Orange” livery will be one of the test aircraft that are scheduled to complete a 600 hour flight test program in the coming months. This first flight took the plane out North first, then West above the Western Washington state area, and returned it back after a large circle around the Seattle area.

Somewhat similar to the 787 Dreamliner situation, the 747-8 program has also faced some delays, but not as bad as the Dreamliner. The 747-8 family is a major redesign of the famous Jumbo Jet designed to compete with the Airbus A380, using the engine and cockpit technology, as well as the larger overhead compartments and the Sky Interior of the Dreamliner, but keeps some of the original features of the plane, including the partial double-deck design – extended even a little bit more than the previous longest double-deck version, the 747-400.

The 76.3 meter long 747-8 will be powered by new generation GEnx engines, but this is not the only change, as the aircraft will be 5.6 ms longer than the current Boeing 747-400 version (4.1 ms before the wing on both decks and 1.5 meters after the wing only on the lower deck). This additional length provides a few more seats onboard for the passenger version that can fly up to 14.800 kms. The new 747-8 will have a maximum take off weight of 442.250 kgs, but will still have a 12% less maintenance costs. It consumes about 17% less fuel, as on top of the new engines types, some parts of the fuselage will be replaced by lighter materials than in the current version. This also means 16% lower (CO2) emissions and a 30% decrease in noise levels from that of the 747-400.

The first 747-8I will be delivered to launch customer Lufthansa, with delivery scheduled for the end of 2011. Lufthansa has ordered 20 of the type so far with 386 seats (the maximum density could be 467). Boeing has sold a combined 33 747-8Is (besides the 20 to German Lufthansa: 5 to Korean Air and 8 for unidentified VIP customers). Most recently Air China has indicated that it would purchase 5 pieces of the longest ever passenger jet, but that order is yet to be confirmed and approved by the Chinese Government. Boeing also has sold 76 of the cargo version of the 747-8, the 747-8F (freighter).

You can find more photos about the first flight and the test aircraft on airliners.net.

by balint01

Boeing 747-8F First Flight

Less than 8 weeks after the successful first flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s other new airplane has taken to the skies for the first time as well: the Freighter version of the 747-8!

One day prior to the 41st anniversary of the first ever flight of the legendary Boeing 747-100 Jumbo Jet, the latest version completed its first test flight, spending more than 3 and a half hours in the air on February 8, 2010. According to Boeing 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein the 747-8 freighter “performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400.“Taking off at 12:40 pm from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, the plane took a route above Western Washington state, climbed to 17,000 feet and reached a top speed of 230 knots. It returned to the same airport and landed safely at 4:18 pm. The flight was delayed by nearly 3 hours due to bad weather.

Somewhat similar to the 787 Dreamliner situation, the 747-8 program has also faced some delays, but not as bad as the Dreamliner. The 747-8 family is a major redesign of the famous Jumbo Jet designed to compete with the Airbus A380, using the engine and cockpit technology of the Dreamliner, but keeps some of the original features of the plane, including the partial double-deck design – which is specifically ideal for Freight as it allows front access to the full cargo hold by opening up the nose below the cockpit.

The 747-8 will be powered by new generation GEnx engines, but this is not the only change, as the aircraft will be 5.6 ms longer than the current Boeing 747-400 freighter version. This additional length provides 16% more revenue cargo volume, meaning 7 additional hold pallets: 4 on the main-deck and three in the lower-hold. Besides taking more cargo, the new 747-8F will consume 17% less fuel, as on top of the new engines types, some parts of the fuselage will be replaced by lighter materials than in the current version. The wings are being fully redesigned as well as seen on this image:

Among the special guests of the first flight at Paine Field was Joe Sutter, the chief engineer of the original 747. “It’s amazing to me that this program has lasted 41 years,” he said on a Boeing webcast following the succesful landing. The fact that the plane is still being developed and adjusted for future upgrades “says the basic design was right then and it’s still right now.

The first 747-8F will be delivered for launch customer Cargolux, with delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2010. Cargolux has ordered 13 of the type so far and is one of nine customers that have ordered a combined 76 -8Fs. Boeing also has sold 32 of the passenger version of the 747-8, the 747-8I (intercontinental), 20 to German Lufthansa, 5 to Korean Air and 7 for unidentified VIP customers. The manufacturer said the first flight of the -8 Intercontinental, will occur later this year. The Freighter version will be undergoing approximately 1,600 hours of test flights – which will be accomplished by three test airplanes.

You can find more photos about the first flight and the test aircraft on airliners.net.

by balint01

Dreamliner First Flight

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is flying for the first time today! This is probably the most awaited headline in the world of commercial aviation and can finally be published, after almost three years waiting and after a little longer than 3 hours flying time today, on December 15. 2009.

The Dreamliner was revealed on July 9, 2007, two and a half years ago. According to the original schedule, the first flight test aircraft should have taken off in the same year. This was first pushed out just two months later, when in early September 2007 Boeing announced a 2 month delay for the maiden flight. Back then they communicated that the first delivery would still be on time (it would have meant a 5 month flight-test period compared to the 777’s 11 months…), so that launch-customer, Japanese ANA could still take passengers to the Beijing Olympics on the new state-of-the-art airliner. The Beijing Olympics came and went, the Pittsburgh Steelers won Superbowl XLIII in Tampa, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley cup, Barcelona claimed the Champions League crown for 2009, Sebastien Loeb victored in Rally again and Jenson Button won the 2009 Formula-1 world title with the new Brawn GP team, but the Dreamliner has still not taken to the skies yet.

There were delays due to “software problems“, “shortage of bolts“, “difficulties around the global supply chain”, then in July came the latest Dreamliner delay news about “a series of relatively small areas” on both sides of the aircraft’s body in the “upper wing join area” that registered stress levels during static testing that “exceeded expectations” – which blew the Summer 2009 first flight plans as well.

But Santa in 2009 seems to bring a huge and long-awaited Christmas gift to all Boeing Commercial employees, to all the 55 airlines that have so far ordered 840 (!) 787’s (some of them have cancelled already, due to the delays) and to all aviation fans: THE FIRST FLIGHT !

Following the power-up, the extended stress tests on the aircraft body, the low speed taxi tests and the high speed taxi tests this past Saturday, the 787 took to the skies at 10:27 am Seattle time at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, heading to Boeing Field. The historic maiden flight was piloted by Michael H. Carriker, Chief Pilot of the type and Randall Lee Neville, Engineering Test Pilot of the 787. Carriker has been with the 787 Program since 2003, while Neville joined in 2005, after clocking more than 600 hours in 9 years with the F-22 Raptor fighter. Interestingly he also played an F-22 pilot in the movie “The Hulk”. Carriker was the captain on the first flights of the Boeing Next-Generation 737-600 and 737-900 type. They both hold type ratings in all current Boeing production models.

Just a little after 3 hours of flight, the first 787 flight touched down at Boeing field in rain, but in perfect style and the landing looked like a very soft one – from the outside. The plane was escorted on the slightly more than 3 hour flight by two T-33 training planes with cameras onboard. The plane arrived to Boeing Field at 1:35 pm local time.

You can ready about the Design Highlights of the Dreamliner here.

by balint01


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