Turboshaft and turboprop

 - April 30, 2007, 6:03 AM

The pace of new technology infusion in helicopter turbine engines is not slowing.
General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Rolls-Royce all have significant civil turboshaft development in progress. Turbomeca has no major program under way, apart from the (mostly military) Ardiden. But the French-based firm has precise views about future key technology advancements.

After years of quiet work, Rolls-Royce in March simultaneously announced improvements on the Model 250 and a new engine, the RR300. As its designation suggests, the latter engine generates 300 shp for takeoff and 240 shp in cruise. It will replace early, low-end versions of the 250, with which it shares a type certificate. The RR300 will propel Robinson’s first turbine helicopter, the R66.

Certification is slated for early next year, program director Chris Fultz told AIN. The first two flight-worthy engines were delivered to Robinson’s Torrance, Calif., plant on February 1. At Rolls-Royce’s Indianapolis development and production facility, the RR300 has accumulated more than 150 test hours. Testing on the first complete engine began in September, following compressor runs in May. The program was launched in January last year.