The first A330-800 took off this morning at Blagnac in Toulouse, France at 10:31am local time, for its maiden flight taking place over south-western France. The aircraft, MSN1888, will perform the dedicated flight-physics tests required for this variant.
The crew in the cockpit comprise: Experimental Test Pilots Malcolm RIDLEY and François BARRE and Test-Flight Engineer Ludovic GIRARD. Meanwhile, monitoring the aircraft systems and performance in real-time at the flight-test-engineer’s (FTE) station are Catherine SCHNEIDER and Jose CORUGEDO BERMEJO. The A330-800’s certification development programme itself will last around 300 flight-test hours, paving the way for certification in 2019. Its sibling, the larger A330-900 family member, recently completed its development testing and certification programme which validated the A330neo Family’s common engines, systems, cabin and flight & ground operations.
Launched in July 2014, the latest generation of Airbus’ widebody family, the A330neo builds on the A330ceo’s proven economics, versatility and reliability while reducing fuel consumption by a further 14 per cent per seat. The NEO’s two versions – the A330-800 and A330-900 – will accommodate 257 and 287 passengers respectively in a three-class seating layout, are powered by the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, offer new “Airspace” cabin amenities and feature a new larger span wing with Sharklet wingtip devices.
The A330 is one of the most popular widebody families ever, having received over 1,700 orders from 120 customers. More than 1,400 A330s are flying with over 120 operators worldwide. The A330neo is the latest addition to the leading Airbus widebody family, which also includes the A350 XWB and the A380, all featuring unmatched space and comfort combined with unprecedented efficiency levels and unrivalled range capability.