|Rolls-Royce Trent 900 on test|
|First run||May 2004 (first flight)|
|Major applications||Airbus A380|
|Developed from||Rolls-Royce RB211|
Design and development
In the early 1990s, Airbus had begun development of a larger successor to the Boeing 747, an aircraft designated A3XX, which was later to be formally launched as the A380. By 1996, its definition had progressed to the extent that Rolls-Royce was able to announce that it would develop the Trent 900 to power the A380. In October 2000, the Trent 900 became the A380's launch engine when Singapore Airlines specified the engine for its order for 10 A380s; this was quickly followed by Qantas in February 2001.
Rolls-Royce has seven risk and revenue sharing partners on the Trent 900: Industria de Turbo Propulsores (low pressure turbine), Hamilton Sundstrand (electronic engine controls), Avio S.p.A. (gearbox module), Marubeni Corporation (engine components), Volvo Aero (intermediate compressor case), Goodrich Corporation (fan casings and sensors) and Honeywell (pneumatic systems). In addition, Samsung Techwin, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) are programme associates.
The Trent 900 made its maiden flight on 17 May 2004 on Airbus' A340-300 testbed, replacing the port inner CFM56-5 engine, and its final certification was granted by EASA on 29 October 2004 and the FAA on 4 December 2006. Rolls-Royce announced in October 2007 that production of the Trent 900 had been restarted after a twelve month suspension caused by delays to the A380.
On 27 September 2007, British Airways announced the selection of the Trent 900 to power 12 A380 aircraft, helping to take the engine's share of the A380 engine market to 52% at the end of February 2009.
The Trent 900 family powers the Airbus A380. It comes in two thrust ratings for the A380, 70,000 lbf (310 kN) and 72,000 lbf (320 kN) but is capable of achieving 80,000 lbf (360 kN). It features a significant amount of technology inherited from the 8104 demonstrator including its 2.95 m (116 in) diameter swept-back fan which provides greater thrust for the same engine size, and is also about 15 percent lighter than previous wide-chord blades. It is also the first member of the Trent family to feature a contra-rotating HP spool and uses the core of the very reliable Trent 500. It is the only A380 engine that can be transported on a Boeing 747 freighter whole.
Whereas most members of the Trent family are controlled by Goodrich FADECs, engine controllers on the Trent 900 are provided by Hamilton Sundstrand, a United Technologies (UTC) company. UTC is also the parent company of Pratt & Whitney, who, with GE Aircraft Engines, is partnering to produce the Engine Alliance GP7000, the other engine available for the A380. This kind of cooperation among competitors is prevalent in the aircraft market as it provides for risk sharing among them and diversity in source countries, which may be a significant factor in an airline's choice of airframe and powerplant.
The Trent 900 will be the first Trent engine fitted with the advanced Engine Health Monitoring (EHM) system based on QUICK Technology.
- Trent 970B- 84 with 78,304 lbf (348.31 kN) of thrust. In use by A380-841 of Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, China Southern Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.
- Trent 972B- 84 with 80,213 lbf (356.81 kN) of thrust. Higher thrust variant of the 970, in use by A380-842 of Qantas.
- Trent 977B- 84 with 83,835 lbf (372.92 kN) of thrust. Variant for A380-843F.
- Trent 980- 84 with 84,098 lbf (374.09 kN) of thrust. Higher thrust variant for A380-941.
On 28 September 2009 a Trent 970 powered Airbus A380-841 (Registration 9V-SKJ) of Singapore Airlines Flight SQ333 was forced to return to Paris after an in-flight engine malfunction and shutdown. The cause of the engine malfunction is unknown.
On 4 November 2010, a Trent 972 powered Airbus A380-842 (Registration VH-OQA) of Qantas Flight QF32 suffered an uncontained engine failure (explosion) in engine number 2 en route from Singapore to Sydney and returned to Singapore Changi Airport where it landed safely. Qantas grounded its fleet of six A380s for over three weeks after the accident pending the investigation and said it may replace up to 16 engines after identifying potential problems. VH-OQA was repaired at an estimated cost of A$139 million. The aircraft has four new engines, a repaired left wing, and had extensive onground testing and two test flights. It returned to service on 28 April 2012.
On 10 November 2010, the European Aviation Safety Agency issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive, ordering airlines using the Trent 900 engine to conduct frequent and stringent tests, including extended ground idle runs, Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) stage 1 blade and case drain inspections and HP/IP structure air buffer cavity and oil service tube inspections. However, on 22 November 2010, the EASA eased its inspection guidelines, citing progress in the investigation. It dropped requirements for extended ground idle runs and requirements for repetitive inspections of the LPT stage 1 blades and case drain.
An investigation by Rolls-Royce concluded that the accident was caused by an oil fire and was confined to a specific component in the turbine area of the engine. The fire led to the release of the Intermediate Pressure Turbine (IPT) disc. It also said the issue is specific to the Trent 900.
Airbus determined that the IPT disk released 3 different high energy fragments, resulting in some structural and systems damage. It also concluded that segregated wiring routes were cut by 2 out of the 3 individual disk debris and as a result, engine 1 could not be shut down after landing.
On 18 November, Airbus announced it may seek compensation from Rolls-Royce for any disruption caused by the Qantas incident and the plans to re-assign engines.
In a preliminary investigation report of the engine failure of Qantas Flight QF32, released 3 December 2010, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau outlined safety actions taken already, including the issuing of a safety recommendation about potential engine problems with the Trent 900. The safety recommendation relates to a possible manufacturing issue with a misaligned counterbore in some pressured oil pipes, which could lead to fatigue cracking, oil leakage, oil fire, and engine failure.
Qantas claims that thrust restrictions recommended by Rolls-Royce following the engine failure have led to severely reduced payloads, making routes unprofitable.
Specifications (Trent 900)
- Type: Three-shaft high bypass ratio (8.7-8.5) turbofan engine
- Length: 4.55 m (179 in)
- Diameter: 2.94 m (116 in) fan tip
- Dry weight: 6,271 kg (13,830 lb)
- Compressor: Eight-stage IP compressor, six-stage HP compressor
- Combustors: Tiled combustor
- Turbine: Single-stage HP turbine, single-stage IP turbine, five-stage LP turbine
- Maximum power output:
- Overall pressure ratio: 37-39
- Thrust-to-weight ratio: 4.93-5.63 (assuming 14,190 lb (6,440 kg) weight of engine and certified to 70,000–80,000 lbf or 310–360 kN of thrust)
- Comparable engines
- Related lists
- European Aviation Safety Agency (11-08-2005). RB211 Trent 900 Series Engines Type-Certificate Data Sheet. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "Rolls-Royce settles into a launch groove for A380". Flight International. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "Rolls-Royce hit by Airbus delays". BBC News. 6 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
- Trent 900, Rolls Royce Website
- Singapore A380's engine failure no drama: Airbus by AFP, 29 September 2009
- Chong, Jordan (20 April 2012). "Qantas A380 back in the air, 'as good as new'". Herald-Sun. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- November 2010 "EMERGENCY AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVE". EASA. 22/11/10.
- Airbus QF32 AIT 3, dated 17 November 2010
- Hepher, Tim (18 November 2010). "Airbus may seek A380 cost compensation from Rolls". Reuters.
- "ATSB releases Qantas A380 engine failure preliminary report" (Press release). ATSB. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
- "Inflight engine failure – Qantas, Airbus A380, VH-OQA, overhead Batam Island, Indonesia, 4 November 2010: Safety Recommendation AO-2010-089-SR-012". ATSB. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
- "A380 flights to Los Angeles unprofitable with Trent 900s: Qantas". Retrieved 2010-12-19.
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