Nexcelle Develops Nacelles for New GE Engines

 - October 10, 2011, 2:25 AM

Nexcelle (GE Aviation, Booth No. 1833) is developing the nacelles for two new engines from GE Aviation and CFM International, a partnership between GE and Safran for business and commercial aircraft: the GE Passport 20 and the CFM International Leap-X1C. The Passport 20 (formerly TechX) is being developed for the new Bombardier 7000 and 8000 long-range heavy business jets that are slated to enter service beginning in 2016. China’s Comac C919 twin-engine regional jet will be powered by the Leap-X.
Cincinnati-based Nexcelle is a joint venture between Middle River Aircraft Systems and Aircelle, suppliers of nacelles, thrust reversers and aerostructures. Nexcelle president Steve Walters said the nacelles and thrust reversers are part of an integrated propulsion system (IPS) being developed in close cooperation with the engine manufacturer that will employ common design, operational practices and supply chains to speed development and simplify customer care once the engines are in service.
Walters said the new nacelle anti-icing technology on the Passport 20 and Leap-X engines use directed-flow pneumatic nozzle technology that was first developed for the GE/Honda HF120 engines on the HondaJet. The directed-flow nozzle technology more efficiently distributes or swirls engine bleed air than traditional nacelle deicing systems and therefore requires less bleed air. Walters said it demonstrated Nexcelle’s ability to leverage technology across the spectrum of GE engine platforms.
The IPS will also include target thrust reversers with movable “kicker plates” that mitigate aerodynamic leakage and turbulence while the aircraft is in flight. The plate moves in place while the engines are in forward thrust and retracts when the engines are placed into reverse. Walters estimates that the plates will save an average 0.25 percent in fuel burn.
Thanks to increased use of high-temperature composites, the new nacelles being developed for these engines also will be approximately 15 to 20 percent lighter, Walters said. The overall composite content of the new nacelles will be 75 to 80 percent and enable the use of larger components that speed the manufacturing process.
But Walters said that the strongest part of IPS was developing it with an integrated engine, nacelle and thrust reverser team that understands “the entire propulsion system. This is unique. We have been able to tie the entire propulsion system together in a way that does not duplicate resources,” he said.
First flying test bed tests for the IPS on the Passport 20 engine are anticipated by mid-2013.