Before any new airliner can begin flying passengers, manufacturers are required to put them through their paces to ensure that they’re up to regulatory standards. Speaking to Key.Aero, Airbus experimental test pilot Frank Chapman reveals the riskier manoeuvres in the flight test programme
A flight test campaign – which precedes certification – comprises hundreds of sorties and many thousands of hours of flight, during which, the pilots and engineers test all aspects of a new design. From high-speed rejected take-offs to engine water ingestion, all the missions vary in difficulty with some being slightly riskier than others.
The majority are not hazardous because they’re conducted at altitude, but a few specific tests carry higher than average risk which cannot be fully mitigated.