Chinook win validates new way of doing business at Honeywell

Paris Air Show » 2007
June 14, 2007, 9:16 AM

Honeywell Aerospace has spent the past couple of years restructuring its activities along customer lines. One indication that this approach may be working is the U.S. group’s latest double-win on the Boeing CH-47 Chinook program. In January, Honeywell and Boeing signed an agreement with the Royal Netherlands Air Force for the delivery of six Chinooks fitted with both Honeywell T55-L714-A engines and Honeywell’s Avionics Control and Management System glass cockpit.

“It’s an important win for us,” Honeywell vice president of commercial and military helicopters Vicky Panhuise told Aviation International News. “This is the first time that this engine and this glass cockpit are paired on a helicopter.”

Honeywell has delivered more than 900 T55 engines to the U.S. Department of Defense for retrofit on its CH-47 Chinooks, and plans to deliver another 200 T55 engines this year. “We do not see an end for this program,” Panhuise said.

Honeywell is also busy with its certification of the HTS900 engine, which the U.S. Army selected in 2005 as the powerplant for the single-engine Bell Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter ARH-70. Incorporating a next-generation dual centrifugal compressor architecture and dual-channel Goodrich Fadec engine control, the HTS900 provides 900 maximum continuous shaft horsepower, or 1,115-shp in twin-engine configuration for up to 30 seconds. Panhuise said Honeywell has already completed more than 2,500 hours of development testing and is “on target is to complete the FAA certification testing in third quarter of this year.”

Another military program currently under way at Honeywell involves a U.S. Army science and technology program to develop small heavy-fuel engine technology. While the goal of the program is not to develop a specific engine model, Honeywell is under contract with the U.S. Army to develop a demonstrator engine focusing on specific engine technologies, including reduction of weight, operating cost, noise, harmful emissions and fuel consumption, while increasing power-to-weight ratio. Although the demonstrator engine is being developed for the light utility platform, Panhuise said the technologies used can be scaled for any class of engine.

On the commercial side of Honeywell’s rotorcraft business, one of its longest running commercial projects includes the upgrade and expansion of the LTS101 turboshaft engine line, the first of which received certification more than 30 years ago. The latest version, the LTS101-850, has demonstrated approximately 100 more shaft horsepower in flight testing than previous models, reaching 850 shp.

Although various models of the LTS101 power the Bell 222, Eurocopter HH-65A and Eurocopter KHI BK117, the greatest current demand for the LTS101 stems from Soloy’s retrofit of Eurocopter AS 350B2 AStars. In March 2006, Soloy received certification for the LTS101-700-D2 retrofit, dubbed the Super D2, replacing the original Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 engine.

Soloy has offered the Super D1 retrofit solution for Eurocopter AS 350BAs, replacing the Turbomeca Arriel 1B engine with the LTS101-600A3-A engine, since 2003. According to Soloy, the Honeywell engines “have demonstrated excellent hot-and-high performance while also showing an eight-percent reduction in fuel consumption over the previous engine installation.”

Many products have both military and commercial applications, including Honeywell’s newest integrated primary flight display (IPFD), currently in the initial stages of development with product availability estimated for 2009 at the earliest. The new IPFD will integrate new synthetic vision system capability with Honeywell’s already available head-up display, enhanced ground proximity warning system and interactive navigation into one primary flight display.

“We believe the new integrated primary flight display will result in dramatically enhanced safety for all helicopter pilots,” said Panhuise. “We’ve improved safety in the fixed-wing market with our enhanced ground proximity, traffic collision avoidance and weather radar, and we want to make sure those products are available for the helicopter market as well.”

Last year, Honeywell announced the development of an IPFD using synthetic vision for fixed-wing aircraft, with the first application on Gulfstreams. Honeywell’s Gulfstream SV-PFD system is scheduled for release in mid to late 2007 and will be available for installation on any Gulfstream equipped with the Primus Epic PlaneView avionics system.

According to Panhuise, the synthetic-vision IPFD is also being evaluated for various military helicopters. “One of the optional features for the Royal Netherlands Chinook system will be an upgrade to the synthetic vision system when it’s available,” she said.

Other technologies currently in development for release in three to five years include a cable-warning and obstacle-avoidance system and integrated navigation for helicopters. Panhuise emphasized that these new programs, as well as the IPFD with synthetic vision, are part of Honeywell’s renewed commitment to safety in the helicopter industry. “We are investing significant dollars into new technologies to help make helicopter flying safer,” Panhuise said. “Currently, helicopter accident rates are four to ten times greater than fixed-wing accident rates. Our goal is to make helicopter accidents a thing of the past through the development and commercialization of our integrated solutions.”

Separately, Honeywell’s VXP health monitoring system (HUMS) can now wirelessly broadcast engine health information to the cockpit. Available for various helicopter models–including Sikorsky S-61 and S-76; Bell 206L, 212, 412, 407, 427 and 430; AgustaWestland A109; and Eurocopter AS 365–the VXP collects and processes engine, rotor and dynamic component data for viewing at the engine, test cell or platform location off the HUMS box or via data download to a personal computer.   

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