Pratt & Whitney Canada’s helicopter turboshaft engine business has enjoyed
an unprecedented surge in recent years, thanks in part to the company’s development work on turbofan engines for business jets, company executives said.
“We have seen 300-percent growth in our helicopter engines business in the last five years,” said John Saabas, the company’s executive vice president. “In fact, there has been that level of growth in all our markets. Although the biggest growth
in dollar terms has been in the turbofan market, it’s been a boom time overall. We’ve had the right products to take advantage of the many new aircraft that have emerged. We’ve been fortunate in that technology applications developed for the turbofan world have also found applications in our turboshaft engines for helicopters.”
Here at Heli-Expo, P&WC is highlighting its new generation of larger turboshaft engines, including the PW210, the PT6C series and the PT6T Twin-Pac. “The PW210 engine that we’re developing is keeping pace with Sikorsky on their S-76D,” Saabas said. “We believe this is going to be the leading engine in the 1,000-shp class. We’re working with Sikorsky to make sure we’re ready when they’re ready.” He added that the PW200 series as a whole, especially the 207 and 206 models, “is doing very well. Those engines have been the number-one choice in two-supplier competitions for the past couple of years.”
Regarding the newest in the PT6C series, Saabas said the direct drive PT6C-67E for the Eurocopter EC 175 “is something we’re very proud of.” The -67E will produce 1,775 shp of thermal takeoff power and includes Fadec among its features. To meet increased growth in demand for the PT6T Twin-Pac, he added, the company has opened a dedicated assembly line for that product in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. That location also continues to operate as a major overhaul and repair facility.
Saabas went on to describe P&WC’s newest mechanism for meeting operator needs. “Last year we announced our Customer First Center program. It is now in effect. Previously we had a help desk whose effectiveness we measured by the number of calls we answered and processed. But we wanted to do more to manage customer field events. So last year we set up a single point in the Pratt & Whitney Canada organization where we have people dealing with the return-to-service process,” Saabas said. Operating 24/7 from P&WC headquarters in Quebec, Customer First Center brings together in one team the best expertise available in technical support, logistics, service engineering, engine maintenance and warranty, he said.
“Now the customer has to deal with only one point for parts, repair and all the other initiatives necessary to get his helicopter back in the air,” he continued. “We created a state-of-the-art facility where we colocated all the people and functions required to provide an integrated rapid-response service to support all those events.”
A heavy P&WC investment in aftermarket support is also represented by a network with 30 company-owned and designated overhaul and repair facilities on all major continents, which are located “close to the customer to maximize the availability of their aircraft,” he added.
P&WC is also offering details about its fleet maintenance plan for helicopters here this week. “We have had a similar plan for fixed-wing, but here we are taking into consideration the special conditions in which helicopters operate,” Saabas explained.