Three GE engine developments in full swing
GE is here with three major programs at various stages of development. The Passport 20, for Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000 large-cabin business jets, has already passed some rig tests. The GE Honda HF120, for the HondaJet and the (currently suspended) Spectrum Freedom, is scheduled for certification in 2012. Meanwhile, the HF80 turboprop is due for certification later this year.
The Passport 20 turbofan (16,500 pounds of thrust, formerly known as the TechX program) is scheduled to make its first ground run in 2013. Certification is scheduled for 2015.
A fan blade-out rig test, to assess the composite fan case containment characteristics, was successfully completed in August, a GE spokesman told AIN. Building on the data gathered, a second fan blade-out rig test is planned for next year. It will represent the final engine configuration. A high-pressure (HP) turbine aero rig test was also successfully completed.
At the engine core level, GE is planning on using eCore2, core engine technology that is common with the bigger CFM Leap engine. However, the manufacturer does not exclude the possibility of using technology from eCore1, which has a single-stage (as opposed to two-stage) HP turbine. Engineers are continuing with eCore2 testing.
Development of the first fan blisk (short for fan-bladed disk), a feature of the Passport family, is “proceeding successfully,” the spokesman said. GE has machined the first blisk to support rig tests in the coming months. A subscale fan aero rig test is planned for later this year.
The full-scale blisk will be 52 inches in diameter. In a conventional design, blades are separate parts, held by a slotted disk or pinned holes, and air can leak between blade platforms, causing lost performance. Blades also can shift back and forth in their slot or on their pin, which causes wear and vibration. In a blisk, the blades and disk are one piece, which eliminates leaks, wear and vibration. In addition, the inner (hub) diameter can be made smaller, allowing for a greater airflow within the same fan outer diameter.
On the HF120 (2,095 pounds of thrust), GE Honda Aero has completed seven engine-level tests in the second and third quarters of this year. All tests had “very positive results.” These tests and component-level tests included bird ingestion, fan blade-out, HP turbine aero-mechanics, oil interruption, vibration endurance, Fadec fault and ice slab ingestion.
Next up is induction system icing testing at the Eglin Air Force Base icing chamber in Florida. The program is also preparing for tests related to the low-pressure shaft stress. Endurance testing will help define initial maintenance inspection intervals. “We anticipate testing to spill over into early 2012,” the spokesman added.
Certification of the H80 turboprop (800 shp) is imminent, as GE has “completed all certification testing and has submitted the necessary documentation to EASA for certification,” the spokesman said. Certification is anticipated between November 20 and December 20. Once EASA certification is received, GE will seek FAA certification.
Asked about PT6 competition for new turboprop products or upgrades, the spokesman answered that “potential customers naturally regard the H80 as an alternative to existing turboprop engines.” A Power90 engine STC exists on the King Air 90/100 with the M601 (the H80 predecessor), therefore, GE is expecting an H80 upgrade to that STC.
The H80 flew on the Thrush 510G cropduster last year. Separately, as part of a 10-year agreement Russian manufacturer Technoavia has ordered 30 for production of a twin-engine aircraft, the Rysachok.