Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) continues to consider a possible new turboprop design that could provide a sufficient advance on the PT6, which through its myriad variants offers 700 to 2,000 shp. However, for the moment at least, the manufacturer sees no immediate prospect of moving on from the ubiquitous powerplant to a new-generation engine in the same power range. “If we are going to replace the PT6, we need to know we can do it with the best possible solution,” said P&WC president Alain Bellemare.
P&WC has recently introduced full-authority digital engine control (FADEC) for the helicopter PT6T turboshaft variant fitted to the Eurocopter EC 135 and is considering introduction of the technology on regular PT6A engines. The official said other manufacturers who use PT6s on their aircraft have been asking about the possibility of a FADEC for other variants “and that’s where we’re going.”
He said the PT6 is a “very modular” family of engines that P&WC “just keeps improving, pushing the envelope and bringing on more power.” The EC 135’s FADEC is “not specific to any rotorcraft right now, it’s generic,” confirmed Bellemare.