Despite a softening U.S. economy and soaring fuel prices, demand for business jets and turboprops is still surging, according to the first-half delivery report from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
While most of the activity at Honeywell’s Phoenix-based engines division continues to focus on evolutionary improvements to its in-production turbine engine lines, research and development of new technologies aimed at a future 10,000-pound-thrust turbofan for the business jet market is steadily moving forward.
The FAA has issued a proposed Airworthiness Directive for GE CF34 turbofan engines with high-pressure-rotor, four-step, air-balance-piston, stationary seals to remove these seals and incorporate an eight-step seal at the next piece-part exposure.
I recently had the chance to fly one of the King Air C90s re-engined with two Walter M601E-11s, which are 751-shp engines flat rated to 550 shp for this installation. The airplane we were flying was N800RP, a 1974 King Air C90, S/N LJ-628. Dan Sigl, owner of Seagull Aviation, which is working on a conversion package for King Air 90s and 100s, agreed to bring the aircraft to my home base, Solberg Airport in New Jersey.
Rolls-Royce unveiled a new turboprop engine for general aviation applications on Tuesday at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The RR500 turboprop engine is larger than the turboshaft RR300 launched last year and will deliver 350 to 450 shp. Based on the RR300 core, the RR500 features a higher mass flow compressor and correspondingly matching turbine, as well as an exhaust-down configuration, a gearbox and propeller controls.
Along with the commercial and networking benefits the Regional Airline Association Convention offers, the annual event gives showgoers a chance to discuss the state of the industry and its prospects for the future.
The first half of the year saw the number of business jet accidents remain the same as during the first half of last year, while the turboprop segment saw a sharp increase, according to statistics released by Boca Raton, Fla.-based industry safety tracker Robert E. Breiling Associates.
It will probably not have escaped the attention of American readers of this column over the past six months that much of the history of aviation during the first half of the 20th century was written by the French, British and Germans. America took the first step when Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their Flyer on Dec.
GKN Aerospace announced here at Farnborough that it is expanding its metallic and composite manufacturing techniques. Acquisitions have boosted its metallic capabilities, while the company’s Composites Research Center is nearing completion of three years’ work on the integrated wing, advanced technology verification program.
CFM International partners General Electric and Snecma have extended their successful 34-year partnership until 2040 and revealed plans to develop an all-new engine, provisionally called the Leap-X. The engine will provide 16 percent more fuel efficiency than today’s CFM56; however, it will not be offered for retrofit to existing aircraft.