The first A380 Airbus aircraft powered by Engine Alliance engines successfully completed its maiden flight on Friday August 25th, 2006, touching down at Blagnac International Airport in Toulouse, France at 14:10 (12:10 pm GMT) after a flight lasting 4 hours and 10 minutes. The flight took off from Blagnac at 10:00 am (08:00 am GMT)

The A380 MSN9 with registration number F-WWEA, is powered by four Engine Alliance GP7200 engines which have the capability of delivering a thrust up to 81,500 pounds (37 tonnes) each. The aircraft is equipped with heavy flight test instrumentation and ballast to produce a take off weight of 430 tonnes.

The flight was captained by Guy Magrin, Experimental Test Pilot, who flew with Franck Chapman, Experimental Test Pilot. The other crew members were Test Flight Engineer, Bruno Bigand and Flight Test Engineers, Patrick du Ché and Jean-Philippe Cottet.

At a post flight media briefing Claude Lelaie Senior Vice President and Head of Airbus’ Flight Division, confirmed the new aircraft handled as anticipated. “The aircraft once again handled as expected and the GP7200 engines performed very well. There’s still many tests and optimisation ahead, but I expect the new Engine Alliance engines to be a success”, Claude Lelaie said.

During the flight around South West France, the aircraft’s flight envelope, cruise speed and handling were tested. MSN9 becomes the fifth and last developmental aircraft to join the fleet of A380 test aircraft. So far, with the other four test aircraft, which are powered by Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines, over 1,800 flying hours have been accumulated in over 575 flights.

Six A380 customers have selected the Engine Alliance GP7200 engine for a total of 82 firm aircraft orders. These include, in alphabetical order: Air France, Emirates Airlines, FedEx, ILFC and Korean Air and UPS.

Designed to operate out of any airport where today’s largest aircraft can, using shorter runways and generating half the noise, the A380 complies with some of the world’s strictest noise restrictions (QC1 for landing and QC2 for take off at London’s Heathrow), reinforcing the A380’s growing recognition as the quietest large aircraft in the world.

The A380 airframe and engines are the world’s most advanced using the latest generation materials and systems to significantly reduce weight and boost performance and economy. The A380 also boasts the world’s most advanced cockpit and avionics providing its customers with the unique benefits of Airbus’ operational commonality between fly-by-wire models.

With 159 firm orders from a total of 16 customers, the first of the Engine Alliance GP7200 powered A380’s marks another milestone in what is destined to become the flagship commercial aircraft of the 21st century.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.