Rolls-Royce launched the latest version of its M250 turboshaft engine, the M250-C47E, today on the eve of Heli-Expo. The new variant replaces the -47B and -47M and incorporates the value improvement package upgrade kit that Rolls Royce introduced last year, as well as a dual-channel Fadec. As a result, the 700-shp engine boasts a 5-percent improvement in high and hot performance over its predecessor, an almost 8-percent improvement in takeoff power, to 700 shp, and reduced specific fuel consumption.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Engines
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft powerplants.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth No. 3718) plans to offer its flight data acquisition storage and transmission system (FAST) for helicopter engines. In addition, it has launched an automatic power assurance check project to run on the system. A power assurance check is a test run to determine the way the engine performance compares with its output when it was new.
For many aviation companies, the rotorcraft segment has provided some welcome stability against an uncertain economic environment. Global parts supplier Aviall is no exception and is responding to market conditions by focusing on end-customer support, and in particular reducing turnaround times for urgently needed parts and maintenance services.
Turbomeca (Booth No. C3901) is ramping up production of its turboshaft engines this year. Simultaneously, the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activity is growing, too. In new developments, Turbomeca is busy with helicopter engine upgrades to the Arriel family and the new TM800 that will power the Eurocopter X4 medium twin.
The diesel engine demonstrator, which may replace turboshafts in light helicopters, is on track for flight tests on a Eurocopter EC120 in the second half of next year. It will feature a power-to-weight ratio between those of a general aviation diesel and a turboshaft. The engine is part of the Green Rotorcraft integrated technology demonstrator (ITD), itself part of Clean Sky, the European Union’s €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) joint technology initiative.
The EASA has certified the Turbomeca Arriel 2E turboshaft; it will power the Eurocopter EC145T2, currently still undergoing certification flight-testing. The 950-shp (takeoff power) engine is scheduled to enter service by year-end. The Arriel 2E, an upgrade of the Arriel 1E2, benefits from a new axial compressor and new blade material. Time between overhaul is also improved, at 4,000 hours initially and a target 6,000 hours “at maturity.”
Honeywell Aerospace and China’s Avicopter signed a “strategic cooperation framework agreement” to consider equipping the latter company’s helicopters with Honeywell engines and avionics. Rishi Singh, Honeywell’s business and general aviation leader in the Asia-Pacific region, told AIN that his company is slated to provide avionics and engines for Avicopter’s proposed “next-generation single/twin,” which has yet to be given the green light to proceed.
Pascal Chrétien, the designer and pilot of an electric rotorcraft that flew in 2011, is forming a company that aims to offer hybrid power for aircraft, notably helicopters. The patented technology is called Tetraero, and according to its promoters its main benefit would be in safety.
Rolls-Royce and Scott’s Bell 47 (SB47) have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore installing the RR300 turboshaft in the SB47 multipurpose light helicopter. Scott’s acquired the type certificate for the Model 47 from Bell Helicopter in 2010 and is currently supporting the helicopter and offering complete refurbishment and updates for the aircraft. The company’s ultimate goal is to place the helicopter back into production. An STC installation of the Rolls-Royce 250 in Bell 47s has been available since the 1970s.
The diesel engine demonstrator aiming to replace turboshafts in light helicopters, which could cut fuel burn by about 30 percent, is said to be on track for installation and ground tests on a Eurocopter EC120 in the first quarter of 2014. Some components have been tested in laboratories and critical design reviews conducted last week were successful, according to project officer Sébastien Dubois.