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Rolls-Royce testing new aircraft engine over Tucson

A new composite carbon/titanium fan blade powered an aircraft for the first time Tuesday, taking to the skies in a 747 engine over Tucson. Rolls-Royce will continue to test the CTi component here over the next several weeks, a company spokesman said.

The company — the world's second-largest aircraft engine manufacturer, which split from the car company decades ago — will fly its branded Boeing 747 from Tucson International Airport as it tests the fan blade in one of the plane's four engines.

The lightweight fan blade, along with a planned composite engine casing, will be part of propulsion system that will be up to 1,500 pounds lighter than current engines — "the equivalent of carrying seven more passengers at no cost," said company spokesman Joel Reuter in a news release.

"The Advance engine design will offer at least 20 per cent less fuel burn and CO₂ emissions than the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engine and could be ready for entry into service from 2020," he said.

"The flight went very well and the demonstrator engine containing the CTi fan set performed perfectly, just as expected. We look forward to testing the system even more rigorously in the next phase," test pilot Mark Lewis said.

As that testing continues here, "residents around Tucson will see a Rolls-Royce-branded aircraft take off and land many times," Reuter said in an email.

"When we test engines, we place one of them on the aircraft that has four total engines," he said.

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2 comments on this story

2
19 comments
Oct 19, 2014, 7:59 pm
-0 +1

Looks like it only took four days for the Star to pick up on your story.

1
19 comments
Oct 15, 2014, 5:40 pm
-0 +1

N787RR has long been a staple at Tucson International Airport.  Its callsign reflects its role to test out the Boeing 787 engines made by Rolls-Royce (RR).

Here’s a picture of it sitting down and waiting patiently for the next flight: http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/000886597L.html

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Rolls-Royce

A set of CTi fan blades completed a first flight incorporated into a Trent 1000 'donor' engine, on a Rolls-Royce 747 flying test bed in Tucson.