Rolls-Royce Trent 900
|National origin||United Kingdom|
|First run||18 March 2003|
|Major applications||Airbus A380|
|Program cost||$450 million|
|Unit cost||US$25m alone, US$46m incl. support|
|Developed from||Trent 800|
|Developed into||Trent 1000|
The Rolls-Royce Trent 900 is a high bypass turbofan produced by Rolls-Royce plc to power the Airbus A380, competing with the Engine Alliance GP7000. Initially proposed for the Boeing 747-500/600X in July 1996, this first application was later abandoned but it was offered for the A3XX, launched as the A380 in December 2000. It first ran on 18 March 2003, made its maiden flight on 17 May 2004 on an A340 testbed, and was certified by the EASA on 29 October 2004. Producing up to 374 kN (84,000 lbf), the Trent 900 has the three shaft architecture of the Rolls-Royce Trent family with a 2.95 m (116 in) fan. It has a 8.5-8.7:1 bypass ratio and a 37–39:1 overall pressure ratio.
In July 1996, Rolls-Royce offered the Trent 900 for the proposed Boeing 747-500/600X, targeting a 2000 service entry and competing with the General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance. With a scaled-down Trent 800 core and a similar 2.8 m (110 in) fan, increasing bypass ratio from 6.5 to 8.5, the 345–365 kN (78,000–82,000 lbf) engine could also power the Airbus A3XX. The $450 million development aimed for a December 1999 certification but the 747X was later abandoned, leaving the A3XX, its Airbus competitor, as a possible application from 2003.
By July 2000, the Trent 900 was the first engine to be ordered for the A3XX, by then with a swept fan. By September, its design was not frozen and the fan diameter could increase by up to 13 cm (5 in) for a 68,000 to 80,000 lbf (300 to 360 kN) thrust. The A3XX was launched as the A380 on 19 December 2000. It was then selected by Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic over the competing GP7200. The Trent 900 ran for the first time on 18 March 2003, achieving its certification thrust of 81,000 lbf (360 kN) on 2 April and attaining 88,000 lbf (390 kN) a week later, with growth room to 94,000 lbf (420 kN). Its 300 cm (118 in) fan comes from the Trent 8104 demonstrator, and a contra-rotating HP spool is used for the first time, for up to 2% better efficiency.
The Trent 900 made its maiden flight on 17 May 2004 on Airbus' A340-300 testbed, replacing the port inner CFM56 engine. Its final certification was granted by the EASA on 29 October 2004, and the FAA on 4 December 2006. After a twelve-month suspension caused by delays to the A380, Rolls-Royce announced in October 2007 that production of the Trent 900 had been restarted. On 27 September 2007, British Airways announced the selection of the Trent 900 to power 12 A380 aircraft, helping to take the engine's share of the A380 engine market to 52% at the end of February 2009.
The Trent 900 is an axial flow, high bypass turbofan with the three coaxial shafts of the Rolls-Royce Trent family. The 2.95 m (116 in) fan with swept blades is driven by a 5-stage LP turbine, the 8-stage IP compressor and the 6-stage HP compressor are both powered by a single stage turbine, with the HP spool rotating in the opposite direction of the others. It has a single annular combustor and is controlled by an EEC. It is certified for thrusts between 334.29 to 374.09 kN (75,152 to 84,098 lbf).
Its swept-back fan is inherited from the Trent 8104 demonstrator and a contra-rotating HP spool is used for the first time. It features a scaled-down Trent 800 core. It can be transported on a Boeing 747 freighter whole, the only A380 engine capable of. The swept-back fan is 15% lighter than previous wide-chord blades.
Rolls-Royce has seven risk and revenue sharing partners on the Trent 900: Industria de Turbo Propulsores (low-pressure turbine), Hamilton Sundstrand (electronic engine controls), Avio S.p.A. (gearbox module), Marubeni Corporation (engine components), Volvo Aero (intermediate compressor case), Goodrich Corporation (fan casings and sensors) and Honeywell (pneumatic systems). In addition, Samsung Techwin, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) are programme associates.
Whereas most members of the Trent family are controlled by FADECs from Goodrich, engine controllers on the Trent 900 are provided by Hamilton Sundstrand, a United Technologies (UTC) company, the parent of Pratt & Whitney, the co-producer of the Engine Alliance GP7000 along with GE Aircraft Engines, the competing A380 powerplant. This cooperation among competitors is prevalent in the aircraft market as it provides for risk sharing and diversity in source countries, which may be a factor in an airline's choices.
|Trent 970-84||334.29 (75,152)||319.60 (71,850)|
|Trent 972-84||341.41 (76,752)|
|Trent 970B-84||348.31 (78,304)|
|Trent 972B-84||356.81 (80,213)|
|Trent 977-84||359.33 (80,781)|
|Trent 977B-84||372.92 (83,835)|
|Trent 980-84||374.09 (84,098)|
|Trent 972E-84||341.41 (76,752)|
The Trent 900 family of engines had their first set of upgrades marketed as the Trent 900EP; these were available for delivery from 2012. This package delivered a 1% saving on fuel burn compared to non EP engines. Rolls Royce told Aviation Week and Space Technology that the upgrades were intended in most cases for both new engines and as retrofits. This upgrade is based on advancements made during the development of the Trent XWB for the Airbus A350 XWB and matches improvements made for the Trent 700 called the Trent 700EP. Block 1 includes elliptical leading edges in the compressor, smaller low-pressure turbine tip clearances, and new coating for the high-pressure compressor drum, as well as an upgrade to the engine control (FADEC) software.
The EP2 package entered testing in May 2013 and was scheduled to be available for delivery in mid 2014. This package aims to provide a further 0.8% reduction in fuel burn on top of the improvements offered by the EP package. Changes include better sealing of the low-pressure turbine, improvements to fan blade tip clearances, and other changes derived from the engines developed for the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. EP2 passed a type certificate test by European Aviation Safety Agency on 27 November 2013 and an update type certificate was issued on 11 December 2013.
On 4 November 2010, a Trent 972 powered Airbus A380-842 (Registration VH-OQA) of Qantas Flight QF32 suffered an uncontained engine failure (explosion) in engine number 2 en route from Singapore to Sydney and returned to Singapore Changi Airport where it landed safely. Qantas grounded its fleet of six A380s for over three weeks after the accident pending the investigation and said it may replace up to 16 engines after identifying potential problems. VH-OQA was repaired at an estimated cost of A$139 million. The aircraft has four new engines, a repaired left wing, and had extensive on ground testing and two test flights. It returned to service on 28 April 2012.
On 10 November 2010, the European Aviation Safety Agency issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive, ordering airlines using the Trent 900 engine to conduct frequent and stringent tests, including extended ground idle runs, Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) stage 1 blade and case drain inspections and HP/IP structure air buffer cavity and oil service tube inspections. However, on 22 November 2010, the EASA eased its inspection guidelines, citing progress in the investigation. It dropped requirements for extended ground idle runs and requirements for repetitive inspections of the LPT stage 1 blades and case drain.
An investigation by Rolls-Royce concluded that the accident was caused by an oil fire and was confined to a specific component in the turbine area of the engine. The fire led to the failure of the Intermediate Pressure Turbine (IPT) disc. It also said the issue is specific to the Trent 900.
Airbus determined that the IPT disc failure released 3 different high energy fragments, resulting in some structural and systems damage. It also concluded that segregated wiring routes were cut by 2 out of the 3 individual disc debris and as a result, engine 1 could not be shut down after landing.
On 18 November 2010, Airbus announced it may seek compensation from Rolls-Royce for any disruption caused by the Qantas incident and the plans to reassign engines.
In a preliminary investigation report of the engine failure of Qantas Flight QF32, released 3 December 2010, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau outlined safety actions taken already, including the issuing of a safety recommendation about potential engine problems with the Trent 900. The safety recommendation relates to a possible manufacturing issue with a misaligned counterbore in some pressured oil pipes, which could lead to fatigue cracking, oil leakage, oil fire, and engine failure.
Qantas claimed on 16 December 2010 that thrust restrictions recommended by Rolls-Royce following the engine failure would have led to severely reduced payloads, making routes unprofitable.
In 2000 Qantas were quoted a price of US$12.85 million per Trent 900. In 2015 Emirates Airlines signed a contract for 200 Trent 900s including long-term service support at a cost of US$9.2 billion or US$46 million per engine. In 2016 ANA bought engines for three new Airbus A380 aircraft for $300m: $25m per Trent 900. A new set of LLPs is worth $7 million and an overhaul costs slightly more.
Engines on display
A Trent 900 is on display at the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Collection (Derby-UK).
Specifications (Trent 900)
Data from EASA 
- Type: Three-shaft high bypass turbofan engine
- Length: 5,478 mm (215.7 in) tip of spinner minus rubber tip to Tail Bearing Housing Plug Mount Flange
- Diameter: 2,950 mm (116 in) fan
- Dry weight: 6,246 kg (13,770 lb)
- Compressor: single stage LP (fan), 8-stage IP axial compressor (IPC), 6-stage HP axial compressor (HPC)
- Combustors: Single annular combustor
- Turbine: single stage HP turbine (HPT), single stage IP turbine (IPT), 5-stage LP turbine (LPT)
- Maximum thrust: 334.29 to 374.09 kN (75,152 to 84,098 lbf)
- Overall pressure ratio: 37–39
- Bypass ratio: 8.5 - 8.7
- Air mass flow: 2,655–2,745 lb (1,204–1,245 kg)/sec
- Thrust-to-weight ratio: 5.46 - 6.11
- "Thrust advance". Flight International. 20 May 2003.
- Andrew Doyle (26 February 1997). "Kawasaki, R-R reconsider plans for Trent 900 engine". Flight International.
- "ANA Group selects Rolls-Royce engines worth $300m for Airbus A380 aircraft" (Press release). Rolls-Royce. 29 January 2016.
- "Rolls-Royce wins largest ever order from Emirates" (Press release). Rolls-Royce. 17 April 2015.
- Max Kingsley-Jones (24 July 1996). "R-R offers Trent 900 on 747-X". Flight International.
- Julian Moxon (25 July 2000). "Trent 500 shapes up". Flight International.
- Guy Norris (12 September 2000). "GP7000 to get launch on A3XX". Flight International.
- "Airbus jumbo on runway". CNN. 19 December 2000.
- Paul Lewis/Andrew Doyle (9 January 2001). "Workshare deals increase European stake in GP7000". Flight International.
- "Airbus A380 Engine Begins Flight Trials on A340 Testbed" (Press release). Airbus. 17 May 2004.
- "Type certificate data sheet E.012" (PDF). EASA. 21 February 2019.
- "Rolls-Royce settles into a launch groove for A380". Flight International. 15 October 2007.
- "Rolls-Royce hit by Airbus delays". BBC News. 6 October 2006.
- "Trent 900 Brochure" (PDF). Rolls-Royce. 6 July 2009.
- Norris, Guy (7 October 2013). "Rolls Begins Improved A380 Engine Tests". Aviation Week and Space Technology. p. 44–45.
- "Trent 900EP's 1% improvement is 'just the start': Rolls-Royce". Flight Global. 28 October 2009.
- "Rolls Tests A380 Trent Upgrade". Aviation Week & Space Technology. 19 June 2013.
- "Enhanced Trent 900 passes EASA type test". Flight Global. 26 November 2013.
- Chong, Jordan (20 April 2012). "Qantas A380 back in the air, 'as good as new'". Herald-Sun. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- "EMERGENCY AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVE". EASA. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Airbus QF32 AIT 3, dated 17 November 2010
- Hepher, Tim (18 November 2010). "Airbus may seek A380 cost compensation from Rolls". Reuters.
- "ATSB releases Qantas A380 engine failure preliminary report" (Press release). ATSB. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
- "Inflight engine failure – Qantas, Airbus A380, VH-OQA, overhead Batam Island, Indonesia, 4 November 2010: Safety Recommendation AO-2010-089-SR-012". ATSB. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
- "A380 flights to Los Angeles unprofitable with Trent 900s: Qantas". Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- Will Horton (14 December 2010). "High thrust Trent 900s limited to 75 flight cycles: Qantas". FlightGlobal.
- "Semi-Annual Jet Aircraft Value Listing". Aircraft Value News. 25 June 2018.
- Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust
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