Airbus is readying its latest product, the A330-200F for first flight at its main assembly facility at Toulouse in the south of France.
The EADS subsidiary says the freighter has just been rolled-out from the paintshop at St Martin, Toulouse, and is now being prepared for the flightline and its maiden flight next month.
The wikipedia notes the A330-200F is a mid-size, long-haul all-cargo aircraft capable of carrying 64 metric tons (mt) over 4000 nautical miles (nm, 7400km) or 69mt up to 3200nm (5930km).
“It introduces a new versatile main-deck cargo loading system that will be able to accommodate both pallets and containers. Several different arrangements will be possible on the main deck, taking up to 23 Side-by-Side (SBS) pallets, aimed at the high volume, high value commodities or Single Row (SR) loading of 16 pallets (96 in X 96 in X 125 in SR pallets) and/or nine AMA containers aimed at the general cargo higher density markets,” the wikipedia adds.
TheA330-200F was announced at the 2006 Farnborough Airshow and received its industrial go-ahead in January 2007. Power is provided by two Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.
“As well as the programme being on track, the A330-200F is also set to exceed performance expectations for customers: Preliminary data now shows that the aircraft can carry at least half a tonne more payload than initially published,” Airbus said in notes sent to defenceWeb.
“This achievement is due to a reduction in the manufacturer’s empty weight by a corresponding amount following an extensive weight saving exercise throughout the development phase.
“The A330-200F is the first Airbus product to address the market for heavy cargo, as well as being the first new mid-sized cargo aircraft launched in 40 years.
There are currently 67 firm orders from nine customers for the new freighter.
Certification is expected in the second quarter of 2010, with the first delivery to start during the European summer.