AEDC enables first flight of new Boeing airliner

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Boeing's 787 Dreamliner made its maiden flight Dec. 15 from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., thanks in part to work done in middle Tennessee.

In 2007, Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) tested the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 high-bypass turbofan engine powering the company's first new jetliner to debut in almost 15 years.

Upon learning of the first flight of the Dreamliner, Doug Hodges, an AEDC engineer for the ground testing conducted on the Trent 1000, expressed his pleasure at playing a role in the Dreamliner's successful maiden voyage.

"We did development, performance and icing testing [on the Trent 1000]," he said. "It's exciting, that was a critical test that they had to pass to obtain their FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] certification, especially the icing [testing]. I'm proud to be part of that."

Regarding the earlier testing conducted at AEDC, Gene Klingensmith, an AEDC project manager, said, "Rolls-Royce came away with critical data they needed for their first flight test of this engine [on a 747 test bed aircraft]."

According to Rolls-Royce, the Trent 1000 engine is the fifth version of the Trent to be developed since the engine family entered service 12 years ago. A single version of the Trent 1000 will be capable of powering all variants of the Boeing 787, mid-sized, wide body, twin-engine jet airliner.