EADS A330 MRTT Military Transport Completes Flight Test Phase 1

2/14/2008 - The first A330 MRTT prototype MSN747 has landed today at EADS MTAD facilities in Getafe, Madrid at 12:15h local time after completing Phase 1 of the flight testing that has been primarily devoted to civil certification. EADS MTAD has officially announced the conclusion of a key Australian A330 MRTT programme milestone.

Flight Test Phase 1 has been conducted in just 3 months logging up a total of 63 flights and 202 flight hours.

During this phase, the A330 MRTT has proven to be extremely reliable fulfilling the flight test programme in accordance to the flight test schedule. The A330 MRTT has behaved as expected, showing that the modifications introduced to the MRTT configuration (including refuelling pods and boom) had no significant effect on the aircraft’s performance. The flight test programme has met all defined test objectives. The flight test campaign was oriented to analyze the behavior of the aircraft with regard to the following disciplines: anemometry & clinometry, handling qualities, buffet, flutter, loads, performance, flight controls (new tanker and receiver adapted control laws), new autopilot mode (bank angle) and the antenna re-location.

The results of loads, performance and handling qualities measured during flight test have shown full consistency with the data calculated by design. Also, it has been verified that the aircraft is Buffet-free and Flutter-free in the whole flight envelope until maximum design speed (MD/VD) after the military modification.

During this flight test phase, the full flight envelope has been validated and no limitations or restrictions have been found.

In addition to the above disciplines involved in the civil certification, the following military development tests have also been performed: Hose deployment and stability, proximity flights in receiver mode (A310 Boom demo acting as tanker) and proximity flights in tanker mode (F18 acting as receiver).

The flight control laws that have been successfully tested and will provide the aircraft superior handling qualities characteristics in the new roles of the aircraft as tanker and receiver. To enhance the capabilities of the aircraft an electronic tail bumper has also been incorporated to minimize the possibility of a tail-strike at take-off.

The Flight Test Phase 1 has been conducted at Getafe and Toulouse depending on the requirements of the flight test program, involving EADS MTAD and Airbus Flight Test organizations. In addition, the RAAF crew has also participated in some of the flight test activities.Additionally, the Phase 1 Flight Test Programme has also included formal certification flights with the participation of the civil European Authority (EASA).

The reliability of the modified A330 MRTT and its state-of-the-art flight test instrumentation has been outstanding: Not a single flight has been delayed or cancelled due to a technical failure. This is a good example of the excellent capabilities this aircraft will provide to the RAAF.

Source: EADS Press Release

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