Sunday, October 21, 2007

TP400 Flight Test Delayed At Least Six Months

Defense News informs us that flight testing of the TP400 turboprop engine for the A400M is to be delayed at least six months. This seems to be a more serious matter than the previously announced program delay of six months.

What it means in layman's terms is that it's going to be six months before we find out if the engine is any good, and a while after that to sling four working examples on a-hopefully-complete airframe and go flying and see what they can do.
My experience in such matters is pretty limited but I did a stint on the ATF-3 back in my days at Garrett, and it took a lot of work to make those allegedly production engines into reliable haulers of stuff. The ATF-3 project was a long time in gestation, 20 years or more, and when I was there we were still doing planetary gearset service bulletins on the TFE731, which was also in production for the better part of 20 years. People who haven't been around these things don't take the development curve seriously, it seems.

Reuters is saying aircraft delivery's going to slip six to twelve months past October 2009.
Photo credit to whoever posted it on wiki.


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