Pratt & Whitney Canada expects to assemble and ground test the first PW800 demonstrator “some time this year,” P&WC president John Saabas told AIN during Pratt & Whitney’s “Media Day” event, held last month in Hartford, Conn. The PW800, which had won a place on the now defunct Cessna Citation Columbus in 2008, lost its only application when the program was suspended in 2009. Undeterred, P&WC still sees great potential for its use on a large business jet re-engining project, if not on an all-new design.
Because the PW800 shares a common core with the PW1000G geared turbofan destined to power the Bombardier C Series, Mitsubishi MRJ, Airbus A320neo and Irkut MC-21, P&WC has already collected substantial data on the 10,000- to 20,000-pound-thrust turbofan’s potential performance attributes. Once the company marries the engine’s core with its low spool–consisting of the fan, low-pressure compressor and low-pressure turbine–it can start validating its figures and making a definitive case to OEMs, explained Saabas.
The large business jet segment continues to outperform the small- and medium-size category due to factors such as a dearth of financing and the growth in numbers of individuals around the world who can afford to buy big jets with cash. Although P&WC projects a presence in the segment on the three-engine Dassault Falcon 7X with its PW307A, it continues to suffer with something of an identity crisis in the large twin-engine market. “Right now we’ve got to get ourselves positioned on one of those big airplanes,” said Saabas.
Unfortunately, not many companies appear ready to spend their resources on new large-jet project any time soon, he noted.
“We feel that the Challenger one day will need to be re-engined,” said Saabas. “We [also] feel that Embraer’s next step will be something bigger than the Legacy 500. If you look at [Embraer’s] product line… There’s a gap in there that we figure they will fill.”