March 27, 2023

  • rsz_airbus_50th_years_anniversary_formation_flight_-_air_to_air

    Inventory Code:
    Date Based:
    Guillaume Faury
    Headquarters Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Key Product Traces:
    Airbus A220, Airbus A320, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A350, Airbus A380
    Enterprise Kind:

It’s greater than three years for the reason that Airbus A321XLR burst onto the world stage on the Paris Airshow. When the following Paris Airshow comes round in 2023, Airbus expects to have the A321XLR near certification and on observe to enter service in 2024. There’s way more to this program than an additional gasoline tank, and with greater than 500 orders to fill, Airbus is steadily transferring by way of the method.

Three XLRs by the top of this 12 months

Airbus is constructing three A321XLR prototypes and expects all to be flying by the top of 2022. Photograph: Airbus

On June 15, the primary A321XLR (XLR), identified internally as FTV1, spent 4 and a half hours within the skies above Hamburg, Germany, on its maiden flight. The next two prototypes are in superior levels of manufacture, and Airbus expects that by the fourth quarter of this 12 months, it should have all three XLR prototypes actively flying. There’s additionally a fourth check plane, an upgraded A321neo fitted with new options designed for the XLR.


As soon as all 4 are in operation, world flight testing shall be underway, as floor testing continues to finalize the usual modifications. Gary O’Donnell is head of the A321XLR program, and he says, “the completion of those actions and submission of all the ultimate paperwork across the finish of subsequent 12 months to the airworthiness authorities will enable us to validate and certify the entire plane. This can allow us to ship what the airways want on day one when the A321XLR enters service in 2024.”

Past the plane, Airbus and its provide chain companions need to construct the economic system to provide the XLR and all of its parts. This includes all of the tooling, jigs and different bodily infrastructure at manufacturing websites worldwide. The third leg of the stool is to have all the bottom assist tools and buyer companies documentation prepared earlier than the primary XLR is delivered.

The XLR has 30% extra vary than a 321neo

The A321XLR has a spread of 4,700NM and may fly 11 hours nonstop, placing Delhi inside straightforward attain of London. Photograph: Airbus

The XLR could have a spread of 4,700 nautical miles (5,400 miles) and be capable to fly nonstop for round eleven hours. This makes metropolis pairs like New York-Rome, Delhi-London and Sydney-Kuala Lumpur potential whereas retaining the superior single-aisle economics of a narrowbody. The XLR can fly round 30% additional than an A321neo and 15% additional than an A321LR, so it wants to hold extra gasoline, rising the utmost take-off weight (MTOW). The heavier MTOW means upgrading, amongst different issues, the touchdown gear and braking programs, which need to be flight-tested and authorized.

With the engine thrust unchanged, Airbus has made aerodynamic modifications to take care of its required take-off efficiency. A number of new options have been fitted to the upgraded A321neo, making it aerodynamically the identical because the XLR as soon as the touchdown gear is retracted. The XLR will maintain an additional 12,900 liters (3,400 US gallons) of gasoline within the integral rear heart tank, so there’s a new gasoline system that additionally must be examined and authorized.

Airbus is doing one thing new by certifying two engine varieties in parallel reasonably than one by one. This reveals the worth of a number of check plane, with FTV1 fitted with the CFM LEAP-1A engine and FTV2 powered by the P&W GTF. It additionally provides Airbus the pliability to check traits on both airplane, dashing up the method because it wades by way of greater than 100 check flights.

FTV3 has to show the XLR to prospects

There shall be quickly extra first flights for the second and third A321XLRs off the manufacturing line. Photograph: Airbus

The third new construct, FTV3, will primarily be used for cabin-related testing and route-proving functions. The considered spending eleven hours in a narrowbody could also be offputting, so cabin consolation and amenity shall be paramount to the XLR’s success. To realize that, Airbus is becoming an upgraded cabin to the XLR, which it says is “nearer to what’s provided in our normal long-range plane.” The XLR has plenty of expectations to reside as much as, so FTV3 will do buyer demonstration flights on routes, such because the long-haul metropolis pairs talked about earlier, airways need to function with the XLR.

After three years within the doldrums, it’s an thrilling time for aviation, and the following two years will see the A321XLR blossom and are available to life. The A321LR is setting the stage, and Airbus appears to have the fitting momentum to get the XLR able to make its debut on time in 2024.

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