Airbus C295 FTB2 Technology Demonstrator Makes Maiden Flight
Airbus’ C295 Flight Test Bed 2 (FTB2) has successfully performed its maiden flight from the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Seville, Spain. Testing will now continue of the new semi-morphing wing, the flight control system and a SatCom antenna embedded in the fuselage.
On Wednesday (January 26, 2022), Airbus announced the successful completion of the maiden flight of their C295 Flight Test Bed 2 (FTB2) aircraft form the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Seville, Spain. Testing will now continue on the aircraft’s new semi-morphing wing, the new affordable flight control system and a SatCom antenna embedded in the aircraft’s fuselage. Based on the Airbus C295, FTB2 is an inflight demonstrator of the European Clean Sky 2 (CS2) and EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The aircraft modifications include new materials and technologies to reduce noise, CO2 and NOx emissions. With the application of these technologies in a future regional multi-mission configuration, up to 43 percent CO2 and 70 percent NOx reductions can be achieved in a typical search and rescue mission of 400 nm, as well as a 45 percent noise reduction on takeoff.
In Wednesday’s announcement, Airbus’ Executive Vice President – Engineering, Defence and Space, Francisco Javier Sánchez Segura, said,
“The first flight of the C295 FTB2 is a key milestone that represents an important step forward in the programme, following the successful integration of the new aero structures, power-on and ground tests. A few years ago this programme was just a dream of a more sustainable future for aviation. Today we are at the final stage and we finally made it fly.”
The main modifications of the C295 FTB2 include a new high-efficiency semi-morphing wing, new dynamic winglets, and a flat panel SatCom antenna integrated in the top of the fuselage. Additionally, the aircraft has innovative flight controls for primary control surfaces, including ailerons, flaps and flap tabs, with improved aerodynamics capable of adjusting inflight and contributing to a more efficient high lift system. The flight control system leverages digital control systems to optimize the aerodynamic shape of the wing inflight, while a new multifunctional flap has been redesigned and includes flap tabs in the trailing edge controlled by electro-mechanical actuators.
Advantages also extend to the manufacturing process with the use of advanced materials including Scalmalloy and additive manufacturing, as well as a new assembly process for the aero structures of the wing. Additionally, a one-shot process has been used for the new composite winglet and winglet tab, evolving from the conventional ribs approach to a multi-spar integrated torsion box. Another advance is the use of jig-less methods for the assembly of flaps and ailerons. As a result, the C295 FTB2 brings not only operational improvements, but also advances design and manufacturing processes.