There was a Storm Lorenzo silver lining for Airbus yesterday as the aircraft manufacturer seized the opportunity to test their planes in adverse conditions.
While across the country, people were battening the hatches, airlines were cancelling flights and pilots were diverting to other airports because of impending storm, one intrepid flight crew was taking to the skies at Shannon Airport.
An Airbus flight-test crew brought a new A330-800NEO (new engine option) jet to Shannon to avail of the strong winds. The jet carried out crosswind landings and rejected take-offs (RTOs) as part of a rigorous certification process which must be completed all new aircraft models.
The crew flew in especially from the Airbus factory in Toulouse to avail of the opportunity for flight training that the storm force conditions presented.
The jet, registration F-WWTO, is the original test aircraft that carried out the model’s maiden flight in Toulouse in November 2018.
Shannon Airport’s director of operations, Niall Maloney, said: “The safety of passengers is our primary concern at Shannon and we were delighted to facilitate the training exercise.
“Storm Lorenzo created a great opportunity to get real flight experience in stormy conditions. It isn’t the first time that Shannon has facilitated such training, in fact all new aircraft models since the construction of the Concorde have used Shannon at some time for cross wind training. It is true what they say every cloud, or in this case storm, has a silver lining.”
Last month, a British Airways crew brought a brand new Airbus A350-1000 jet directly from Toulouse to Shannon for five days of training.
In August, Airbus sent its newest oversize transport plane to Shannon for another historic visit for the airport. The company’s next-generation BelugaXL airlifter, which is due to enter service later this year, came to Shannon to undergo crosswind training and rejected take-offs.
In 2006, the largest passenger plane in the world, the Airbus A380 superjumbo, undertook cross-winding training in Shannon.
Airbus postponed its original visit to Shannon because winds weren’t strong enough leaving hundreds of plane spotters disappointed.
The massive jet arrived in Shannon the following week to the delight of aviation enthusiasts.
Every stormy cloud has a silver lining! We're delighted to facilitate this Airbus A330-800 NEO test aircraft today! It's in from Toulouse to test cross wind landing due to the high winds! New aircraft since the Concorde have used Shannon at some stage for testing #stormLorenzo pic.twitter.com/foVC9rBWkx— Shannon Airport (@ShannonAirport) October 3, 2019
Several other new Airbus aircraft models have visited Shannon in recent years for similar training.
At 3,199m, the runway at Shannon is the longest in Ireland and can cater for all the largest aircraft in operation.