Despite last year’s cancellation of the Cessna Columbus program, which would have been the launch customer for Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PurePower PW800 series of engines, progress continues on the 10,000-pound-thrust class turbofan, and the engine maker (Booth No. 328) is actively discussing applications with airframers for the new powerplant. “Basically we have technology ready to launch this product tomorrow,” said Richard Dussault, PWC’s vice president of strategic planning and marketing.
A direct drive offshoot of parent company Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1000G geared turbofan–which has been selected to power new regional jetliners such as the Bombardier C Series, Mitsubishi MRJ and Irkut MC-21– the PW800 engine core will share a great deal of commonality with that engine, including the high-pressure compressor, the new Talon (Technology for advanced low NOX) X combustor and turbine.
“One of the features customers like is that it is a common core designed for regional aircraft service, so it will be, by design, very reliable, very rugged,” said Dussault. Another important factor is that by virtue of [the engine’s] use in regional airliners, the engine core design will accrue service experience far more quickly than if they were used for only business aircraft.
Advanced testing for the full-scale common engine core began last December, and so far has met the company’s expectations in terms of expected performance, said Walter Di Bartolomeo, PWC’s v-p of engineering. Among the improvements touted for the new PW800 engine is a decrease in fuel burn on the order of 10 percent based on its state-of-the-art compressor, combustor and high-pressure turbine. PWC also expects a dramatic decrease in emissions based on the new technology.
“Our PW308, which today equips the Falcon 7X and has been selected for the Learjet 85, has what we call our Talon II combustion technology, which offers a NOX [nitrous oxides] level 33 percent better than the current regulation,” said Dussault. “With the next generation of Talon X in the 800 we’d go for a 50-percent improvement [over ICAO standards] in terms of NOX.”
The company expects the new engines will eventually see their final assembly and testing conducted at its new Mirabel Aerospace Centre, set to open around the middle of the year at Montreal Mirabel International Airport. The multimillion-dollar facility will also house the company’s flight test center as well as the assembly and test cells for the PW1000G engines.
Newest among its smaller engines, PWC’s 3,360-pound-thrust PW535E turbofan received certification this past November and powers the Embraer Phenom 300, which saw its initial customer delivery the following month. Between the Phenom 300 and its smaller stablemate, the Phenom 100 (which is powered by the 1,615-pound-thrust PW617E), Embraer delivered nearly 100 aircraft last year. The Brazilian airframer claims an order book of more than 600 Phenoms and currently plans deliveries of 120 more this year, while Cessna has also ramped up production of its Citation Mustang, which is powered by the 1,460-pound-thrust PW615F-A.
The company is also continuing development of the 6,100-pound- thrust PW307B which has been chosen to power Bombardier’s Learjet 85 and is a derivative of the PW307A found on the Dassault Falcon 7X. Certification is anticipated by fourth quarter of 2012.
Next on the list for approval is the 1,000-shp class PW210, the latest addition to PWC’s popular PW200 helicopter engine family, for which the company expects to receive certification by the end of the year. Launch customer Sikorsky has selected the PW210 to power its new S-76D, and aims to receive Transport Canada approval for the aircraft next year. PWC is also in negotiations with another airframer to use the engine which will have the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.
The company is currently in the third year of its “Customer First Centre” service initiative, which according to Dussault has been well received by PWC’s customer base. “We basically brought into the customer call center all the constituents who help support customers and went from the principle of responding to calls to managing events,” Dussault told AIN. “That’s a culture shift that we have done with our customer support people.”
From issues as simple as answering a technical question to arranging for the delivery of a spare rental engine, all the personnel who can speed the process for the end user have been collocated. With more than 45,000 engines in service among 10,000 customers, PWC not surprisingly has developed one of the most expansive service networks in the industry with more than 100 field representatives. It currently operates 30 authorized overhaul facilities around the world, split nearly equally between company-owned centers and third-party designated overhaul facilities.
The company also recently opened three new spare parts depots–in Singapore; Brisbane, Australia; and Brazil. In addition, over the past year PWC has doubled its number of mobile repair teams to enhance its response time for customers seeking emergency service.
PWC Pairs with FSI for Maintenance Training
Last month Pratt & Whitney Canada announced it has entered a long-term agreement with FlightSafety International to provide worldwide maintenance training for PWC’s customers and employees across its full line of products.
The training provider will manage daily operations as well as develop and produce course materials using new technology such as learning management systems and learning content management systems. It also will employ online and traditional classroom training, hands-on full-scale systems trainers, large-scale component cutaways, working models and test equipment. PWC will retain oversight of the customer training program.
“The global expansion of our training capabilities network is another way in which we are working to anticipate the needs of our global customer base and provide the best value in the industry,” said Raffaele Virgili, PWC’s vice president of customer service.