The Boeing 747-400, registered VH-OJU, into service at Qantas for 20 years will start a new career at Rolls-Royce as a flying testbed, after travelling with the Australian airline for over 70 million kilometers, the equivalent of almost 100 round trips to the moon.
Qantas’ Boeing 747-400 will be used to test current and future jet engine technology that will transform flight, reduce emissions and set new benchmarks for efficiency. As a flying testbed, the Boeing 747-400 will be fitted with the latest testing capabilities and for the first time, will test engines which power both commercial and business aircraft. The new systems will get data faster and in larger quantities while the technologies will be tested at higher altitudes and faster speeds, a significant advantage of the Boeing 747 which is able to evolve at speeds in the high subsonic domain.
Rolls-Royce employees will choose a name for the aircraft, which served its life with Qantas named Lord Howe Island. It will be flown by a crew of specialist test pilots, who combine engineering expertise with decades of experience flying commercial, military and test aircraft. The new aircraft will support the Rolls-Royce IntelligentEngine vision, where engines are connected, contextually aware and even comprehending, starting from their time on the testbed.