While ATR and Bombardier continue to vacillate over plans to introduce a new 90-seat turboprop, Pratt & Whitney Canada keeps moving forward with a powerplant it believes will deliver a 20-percent fuel burn improvement over existing engines in the 5,000- to 7,000-shp range by the turn of the decade. Dubbed the Next Generation Regional Turboprop (NGRT), the engine would feature an all-new compressor, a miniaturized version of Pratt & Whitney’s patented Talon combustor and (probably) an eight-blade propeller.
The technology stakes are high for the GE9X engine that will power Boeing’s new 777X twinjet, but GE Aviation believes its big bet on the weight savings to be delivered by unprecedented use of composites is about to pay off. The U.S. engine maker, which currently holds orders for some 600 of the engines, is leaving nothing to chance and, with more than two years of technology maturation behind it, the company is now stepping up its test program en route to certification in 2018.
As preparations continue for running a full open-rotor engine demonstrator in 2016 under Europe’s Clean Sky research effort, French engine maker Snecma (Hall 4 Stand B12) sees the program’s participants reaching a consensus as whether or not to proceed in the 2017-to-2019 time frame. Clean Sky, which also involves Airbus, Rolls-Royce and French research center Onera, has provided a relatively unexpected discussion platform, thus facilitating a general agreement.
France-based engine developer Price Induction is taking its DGen 380 turbofan on a U.S. tour this month. Exhibited on a mobile test bed, the 575-pound-thrust powerplant and all of its operating equipment have been mounted on a truck platform for the tour. Next stops are Chicago (July 21), Cleveland (July 24) and University Park, Pa. (July 28).
In a move that could help pave the way for low-boom supersonic flight over land, NASA aeronautics researchers are presenting their work on how people on the ground perceive low sonic booms this week in Atlanta at an annual event held by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “Lessening sonic booms is the most significant hurdle to [civil] supersonic flight,” said Peter Coen, head of the high-speed project in NASA’s aeronautics research mission directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
More than 4,000 sq ft of Duncan Aviation’s new 175,000-sq-ft hangar in Lincoln, Neb., is dedicated to engines. “We’ve been in the new shop for only a few months but have already experienced a significant increase in work efficiency and improvement to the safety of our customers’ property,” said James Prater, manager of turbine engine services. “Before the move, all engines and their components would remain subject to being moved in the hangar.
While ATR and Bombardier continue to vacillate over plans to introduce a new 90-seat turboprop, Pratt & Whitney Canada keeps moving forward with an engine it believes will deliver a 20-percent fuel burn improvement over existing engines in the 5,000- to 7,000-shp range by the turn of the decade. Dubbed the Next Generation Regional Turboprop (NGRT), the engine would feature an all-new compressor, a miniaturized version of Pratt & Whitney’s patented Talon combustor and likely an eight-blade propeller
Aerion Corp. (Booth 3634) is redesigning its proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ) with a larger cabin and more range, reflecting feedback from a recent operators survey. The new aircraft–dubbed AS2, for Aerion supersonic second design–has three engines versus two on its now-scrubbed predecessor. It still retains a supersonic natural laminar-flow wing, which it calls “the key enabling technology behind practical and efficient supersonic and high-subsonic flight.”
Most activity in business jet engine research and development is taking place for business aircraft at the top end of the size range. Snecma (Booth 5515) is developing the Silvercrest for the Dassault Falcon 5X, while Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth 3834) has readied a new variant of the PW307 for the newly revealed Falcon 8X. The Québec-based manufacturer is also running the PW800, a demonstrator in the 10,000- to 20,000-lb-thrust range. GE (Booth 5551) is working on its Passport engine for Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000.
The FAA is proposing to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engines. The proposed AD was prompted by in-service events involving the perforation of engine cases as a result of the liberation of power-turbine blades and the fracture/displacement of the power-turbine containment ring.