The ZEROe demonstrator is a giant leap forward in our mission to bring zero-emission aviation to reality. Discover how the hydrogen combustion technology will work on the A380 test platform.
In 2015, one of the most powerful engines ever developed for an Airbus aircraft was approaching the final stages of development. But before it could be fitted to the A350-1000 aircraft for which it was destined, the engine needed to be flight and ground tested – a common practice for new technologies before entry-into-service.
That is why, on a pleasant autumn day, the aircraft equipped with the development engine took off from Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse. The test flight lasted 4 hours and 14 minutes, and analysed the performance of a wide range of power settings at altitudes of up to 35,000 feet.
But it was not the A350-1000 used for the test flight: it was the A380 MSN1 – the first-ever A380 to roll off the production line. The A380 is the world’s largest and most spacious passenger jet ever built – a size that makes it ideally suited to the role of test platform.
Today, the A380 MSN1 test aircraft is earmarked for a new role: to take the lead on testing the technologies that will be vital to bringing the world’s first zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035.
“The A380 MSN1 is an excellent flight laboratory platform for new hydrogen technologies,” says Mathias Andriamisaina, Airbus ZEROe Demonstrator Leader. “It’s a safe and reliable platform that is highly versatile to test a wide range of zero-emission technologies. In addition, the platform can comfortably accommodate the large flight test instrumentation that will be needed to analyse the performance of the hydrogen in the hydrogen-propulsion system.”