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Airbus A321neo completes first flight test

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 10, 2016

Airbus A321neo D-AVXB during its first test flight. (Airbus/Michael Lindner)
Airbus A321neo D-AVXB during its first test flight. (Airbus/Michael Lindner)

Airbus has completed the first flight test of its A321neo narrowbody powered by CFM Leap-1A engines.

The maiden flight with the A321neo (new engine option), which is the largest of Airbus’s A320 family of single-aisle aircraft, took off from Finkenwerder Airport near Hamburg on February 9 (European time).

Airbus said the flight lasted five hours and 29 minutes, with experimental test pilots Martin Scheuermann and Bernardo Saez Benito Hernandez, as well as test-flight engineer Gérard Leskerpit, on the flight deck of D-AVXB.

Flight-test engineers Sandra Bour Schaeffer and Emiliano Requena Esteban were also on board.

“Tests were performed on the engine speed variation (low/high), systems behaviour and to validate the aircraft’s flight envelope,” Airbus said in a statement.

“The A321neo will join the NEO flight test fleet and perform a partial flight test programme to validate the impact on handling qualities, performance and systems.

“The first A321neo will be delivered at the end of 2016.”

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In this part of the world, Air New Zealand has ordered of 13 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft that are due for delivery from 2017. The order includes a minimum of three A321neos, Air NZ said in a statement when announcing the order in June 2014.

Meanwhile, Jetstar could conceivably convert some of its order for 99 A320neos to the new longer-range member of the A320neo family.

The A320neo family of aircraft has two engine options – Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofan and the CFM LEAP 1A.

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The first A320neo with Pratt & Whitney engines was delivered to launch customer Lufthansa on January 20.

Qatar Airways had been scheduled to be the first airline to take delivery of the neo, with a handover due before the end of 2015, but it declined to accept the aircraft while Pratt & Whitney developed a fix for the PW1100G, which currently has to idle for three minutes after start-up before the aircraft can taxi under its own power.

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