A380 To Test Open Rotor Engine


Airbus and CFM International are teaming up to develop and test open rotor engines on an A380. The Super Jumbo will carry the unusual engine on its inner left pylon. The double decker airliner will fly with the engine later in this decade in France. In the meantime, it will be ground tested and undergo flight test validation at General Electric’s Victorville, California, flight test center. The goal is to advance the cause of making aviation net zero for carbon emissions over the next 30 years.

“New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving aviation’s net-zero objectives, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus chief technical officer, in a statement. The engine design is expected to yield a 20 percent increase in efficiency. The A380 tests will test integration of the engine onto the wing, evaluate the aerodynamic impact of the engines and test them on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Good thing the European companies are doing this. Complete waste of time and money. Sustainable and net-zero objectives won’t do any good if passengers won’t ride in something with a prop. This same technology was rejected by US airlines some 30 years ago because of this issue and the noise they create.

  2. Pax certainly will ride in them if they are the more affordable option.
    And presumably the noise issue will be a major point of development in light on experiences 30+ years ago.

  3. I’m not sure I get the concept.

    Isn’t this just a turboprop variant? Or a non-ducted turbofan?

    I don’t see anything truly new here.

    Also, if it saved gas and this outweighed the downsides of the design, wouldn’t it have been used for the past 50 years?

    I’m not trying to be snarky (for a change ;-), I just don’t see the point.

  4. So instead of burning around four litres of kerosene a second it will burn 3.2 litres a second… Biofuels are suddenly looking competitive thanks to Vlad the inflator, but there are more and more people refusing to fly on holiday to gawk at natives. You only have to look at the queues in airports to see most of those waiting are behind the times and stuck in the 1990s.

  5. Tell me about your cell phone from 40 years ago Kent. The list of engineering problems that we were a roadblock then that we have the technology to solve now is pretty long. And why are you so scared? You aren’t paying for it, and you never know what else might be discovered along the way. Thake a deep breath.

    • Very high speed propellors in air are extremely loud (today as well as 40 years ago). Watching companies rediscovering failures is not fear inducing, it’s rather funny.

  6. It’s time we went back to flying in our Sunday Best, eating fine meals with cocktails in Constellations and DC7s burning non-E mogas. Let the unwashed ride mules. I’m tired of sitting with them.

    • Dang if that doesn’t sound appealing 🙂

      Unfortunately after wasting my money on motorcycles and bicycles and airplanes and twin turbo V8 sport sedans my budget more closely approximates the great unwashed…

  7. Didn’t “we” already go through development and full testing of this and it didn’t pan out? Did someone change the physics?

    • Amen.

      Better for our planes, cars, motorcycles, and small engines (movers, trimmers, snow blowers etc.)