NBAA Convention News

P&WC boss sees opportunity across entire maket spectrum

 - September 20, 2007, 11:54 AM

When NBAA Convention News spoke with Alain Bellemare, Pratt & Whitney Canada president, and John Saabas, senior v-p, earlier this month, Bellemare reported strong orders and prospects across the entire P&WC product line, from the PT6 turboprop and turboshaft through in-production turbofans to the emerging 10,000-pound-thrust family and even power for an exotic suborbital commercial space flight program.

He said the PW600 family of small turbofans “is in full production mode for the Eclipse and the Cessna Mustang very light jets, and the Embraer Phenom made its first flight with the PW617F in July. We are very happy with where we are, and we are working to try to capture new applications. Already, feedback from our customers has been very positive.” Saabas added that the PW600 engines are meeting all performance parameters.

The PW500 turbofan family is also doing well, said Bellemare. He cited specifically the PW535B, which has entered service aboard the Cessna Citation Encore+.

According to Saabas, the PW307A (on the Dassault Falcon 7X) and the PW308 (selected to power the White Knight commercial spacecraft launch aircraft) represent special successes in the PW300 family. The PW307A, he said, “offers best-in-class performance and also is really building on the most advanced technology we have to offer.” He pointed to combustion system advances incorporated in the PW307A that enable it to surpass current ICAO environmental standards by more than 35 percent for carbon monoxide and by more than 50 percent for nitrous oxide emissions, unburned hydrocarbons and smoke. These environmental gains, he said, “provide something which we can build upon as we move on to the 10K engine.”

Bellemare said that P&WC’s participation in the world’s first commercial suborbital space flight program “gives us the opportunity to test the engine far outside the customary envelope. And [in collaboration with Virgin Fuels] we’ll test some biofuels in the engine, as well.” Saabas added that P&WC is testing alternate fuels in its existing engines to understand the issues involved.

P&WC’s 10,000-pound-thrust turbofan for the emerging super-midsize class of business jets is “set to launch now,” said Bellemare. “We believe we have the best technology, building on our resources and those of Pratt & Whitney U.S. This new engine–we need to agree on a name for it–represents a step change in performance. It will meet and exceed environmental and operational standards, and incorporate proven durability and reliability. We’re just waiting for the first customer. The technology is ready.”

Saabas characterized P&WC’s aftermarket support network as “one of the most extensive in the business jet industry,” and said the company seeks to continue to improve it.  “We have converted our call center to become our Customer First center [where] we can manage field events and coordinate the entire support process in one area,” he said. “We continuously measure ourself in terms of time to return to service. We feel that keeps giving us an edge, providing support in a way that keeps the customer up and flying.”

Bellemare concluded, “We like the position in which we find ourselves. We like where we’re going.”