Turbofan engine makers active in business aviation– such as General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls-Royce and Snecma– all have their hands full with research-and-development (R&D) programs, many of which are driven by aircraft programs. However, almost all of the engine companies also run demonstration programs that will not necessarily morph into full engine development.
One of Heli-Expo’09’s worst-kept secrets, the Rolls-Royce RR500 turboshaft engine, was unveiled Monday afternoon in a brief but hearing-impairment-inducing ceremony at the engine maker’s booth. The RR500 turboshaft, a 475-shp derivative of the RR300 that powers the in-development Robinson R66, is scheduled for certification in late 2011. A turboprop version of the RR500 was first announced last summer at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.
Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth No. 624) remains committed to developing new engine products whatever the impact of the global downturn on a changing industry, according to president John Saabas. He told HAI Convention News that last year had been “a peak year” for the Canadian manufacturer.
Savings of up to 40 percent on jet fuel for the Rolls-Royce 250 turbine-engine family? That is the prospect offered by Frontline Aerospace, said company CEO Ryan Wood in describing an emerging aviation technology called gas turbine recuperation.
The Smithsonian Institution has identified the bird remains found in both engines of the US Airways A320 that ditched into the Hudson River on January 15 as those of Canada Geese. The Smithsonian’s feather identification lab has so far examined 25 samples of bird remains and reached its conclusion through DNA analysis and through morphological comparisons with specimens in the museum’s collections.
Large-cabin business jet flight activity in December took the biggest hit–26 percent–compared with activity over the same period in 2007, according to the ARG/US year-end business aircraft activity report. The results are somewhat at odds with other market reports, such as the UBS business jet update, which identify the light jet segment as the one that has logged the largest decline.
Nine contracts worth more than $630 million were awarded to MTU Maintenance last November. “The deals we made again demonstrate that amid a difficult economic environment, MTU remains competitive and well positioned,” commented Egon Behle, CEO of MTU Aero Engines. The agreements signed in part are long-term, up to 10-year arrangements covering V2500, CF6 and PW2000 engines. They come mostly from the U.S. and Europe.
Soloy Aviation has received FAA certification for its Soloy 206 Turbine Mk II, a Cessna 206H re-engined with a 417-shp Rolls-Royce 250-B17F/2 turboprop engine and fitted with a Hartzell three-blade prop with full beta reverse features. According to the company, the Mk II can climb at 2,460 fpm at sea level, cruise at 20,000 feet at 213 ktas, carry 775 pounds with full fuel and has an approximately 550-nm range.
Petaluma, Calif.-based Sunset Aviation is now operating as a standalone subsidiary of JetDirect Aviation, which acquired the light jet and turboprop operator last year. JetDirect will continue to offer business support, sales and marketing services, but Sunset will operate as an independent Part 135 air carrier, with Sunset founder Dan Drohan serving as president and CEO, according to JetDirect senior vice president of marketing Gil Wolin.
Is it a jet? Is it a turboprop? That’s the question that remains after Socata confirmed here yesterday that it is still pursuing a twin-engine aircraft to augment its product line beyond the TBM 850 turboprop single. Company officials were tight-lipped about details, other than saying that the aircraft, codenamed NTx (NT for New Twin), will be bigger, faster and have two more seats than a TBM 850.