TP400 engine tests on C-130K completed
On Wednesday 30th September 2009, Marshall Aerospace carried out the final phase of flight test trials for the Europrop International (EPI) TP400 power-plant developed for the new Airbus A400M transporter.
Marshall Aerospace (MA) was contracted by Airbus Military to evaluate the performance, stability and operability of the new power-plant, and to date it has been ground run 42 times and flown 18 times on the company’s highly modified C-130K flight test bed aircraft based at Cambridge UK, totalling over 110 hours of actual engine running time including approximately 54 flight test hours.
Through ground, taxi and flight trials, MA have recorded approximately 800 analogue and 2000 databus parameters using the onboard Data Acquisition System. The data gathered from the flight test programme further demonstrates the confidence that Airbus have in the new EPI engine and Ratier-Figeac propeller combination, which is the largest ever to be designed and produced in the Western world.
During a comprehensive flight test programme, the main test objectives which have been achieved include: take-off using "Take-Off and Go Around" power on the test engine; in-flight windmill and starter assisted relights across the flight envelope; engine intake distortion, propeller vibration and stress survey comprising sideslip, steady turns and push-over manoeuvres across the flight envelope; engine handling including slams and chops to-and-from maximum power; engine performance, and noise and vibration data gathering; in-flight auto-feather testing; ground testing in high strength wind conditions to characterise propeller vibration modes and intake distortion; characterisation of power-plant flight to ground mode transition during landing; optimisation of power-plant control; auto-feather testing; engine handling and stability in simulated failure conditions; and static reverse testing.
The TP400 engine produces more thrust at idle than the standard C-130 T56 powerplant does at take-off power; with over twice the power and twice the weight of the standard C-130 engine, this has led to some unique handling qualities to the aircraft when considering the diverse range of testing required.