Rolls-Royce to test split-loading of XWB engine

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Rolls-Royce is to perform freight-loading tests for its Trent XWB engine at the UK's East Midlands airport, to verify transport procedures for the powerplant.

The engine is the first Trent family member too large to fit into a Boeing 747 freighter while still wholly-assembled.

Trent XWB programme director Chris Young says the manufacturer has developed tooling allowing the fan and the core to be split and loaded separately.

"Previously we've trialled the tooling and gone through a mock-up of a 747 door," he says. "This time we're fully proving the tooling."

Rolls-Royce will take its first-produced XWB engine - which it uses for training - to East Midlands within the next two weeks and carry out the standard loading procedure in conjunction with a 747 operator.

It has already delivered the first set of XWB-84 engines for the first flying prototype A350-900 aircraft, MSN1, in preparation for the maiden flight which Airbus aims to perform in mid-2013.

Young says the manufacturer has another pair of flight-test engines almost completed and another three in build, with four more kitted.