Boeing 747 to become Rolls-Royce flying test-bed

Posted on 05 Nov 2019 and read 362 times
Boeing 747 to become Rolls-Royce flying test-bedA recently retired Qantas passenger aircraft has begun life as a flying test-bed for Rolls-Royce.

The Boeing 747-400 has flown more than 70 million km, which is the equivalent of almost 100 return trips to the Moon, and it has carried 2.5 million passengers, with each journey powered by four Rolls-Royce RB211 engines.

As a flying test-bed, it will be fitted with the latest equipment to test engines that power both commercial and business aircraft.

Rolls-Royce employees will choose a name for the aircraft, which was called Lord Howe Island during its service life with Qantas.

The 747 completed its final commercial flight for Qantas on 13 October, from Sydney to Los Angeles.

It then flew to AeroTEC’s flight test centre in Washington State, where it will undergo a two-year transformation.

AeroTEC engineers and technicians will convert it from a commercial aircraft with 364 passenger seats to a ‘state of the art’ flying test-bed equipped with extensive instrumentation and systems to take measurements of engine performance in flight.

The aircraft will then work alongside Rolls-Royce’s existing flying test-bed — a Boeing 747-200 that has completed
285 test flights to date.

Rolls-Royce ( is spending £56 million on the acquisition and refurbishment of the aircraft.

This is in addition to a £90 million investment in Testbed 80 — the largest and most intelligent test-bed in the world, currently under construction in Derby and due to be commissioned in 2020.

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