Japan’s defense budget for Fiscal Year 2008 includes only Y7 billion ($66 million) for the Mitsubishi ATD-X Shin-shin (Spirit) new-technology fighter demonstrator. The amount is considerably less than the Y49.9 billion ($462 million) requested by the organization overseeing the program, the Technical Research and Development Institute.
The efficiency of the gas turbine engines that power today’s commercial and military aircraft is approaching the highest level possible with current turbofans. But a totally new technology being pioneered by GE Aviation and researchers worldwide promises far simpler, more efficient engines that will extend aircraft range, cut fuel costs and reduce emissions.
Hawker Beechcraft Beechjet 400A, Sarasota, Fla., July 12, 2004–According to the NTSB, the double engine flameout of the Flight Options Beechjet was caused by high-altitude ice crystals that accreted on the compressor vanes and were ingested into the high-pressure compressor when the power levers were retarded, causing compressor surges and flameouts.
France-based engine manufacturer Snecma has reported “positive results” for the first 35 ground test hours of its Silvercrest core engine. In an unusual move, the company has begun the test program without announcing a launch application for the new turbofan, which is targeted for applications on future super-midsize to large business jets. The core engine achieved “all the expected performance objectives” for these combustion trials.
Boeing 747-132, over Lake Michigan, Oct. 20, 2004–The Safety Board attributed the separation of the cargo 747’s number-one engine from its mounts to the uncontained separation of a portion of the second-stage turbine disk rim after the second-stage turbine vanes contacted the disk, due to the operator’s inadequate inspection of the high-pressure turbine module and the improper repair of the module.
The story of how a 100-year-old prestige motor car company evolved into one of the world’s premier aircraft engine manufacturers is rooted in the weaving together of two fundamental principles–adaptability and commonality.
Beginning next month, engine manufacturers seeking FAA type certification for new turbine designs with inlet areas greater than 2.5 square meters (roughly 27 sq ft) will have to pass more stringent bird-ingestion tests. The amended rule–already accepted by the EASA–formalizes standards that the industry has already largely adopted, according to Marc Bouthillier of the FAA’s engine and propeller directorate.
Pratt & Whitney Canada and the French-Russian Snecma-NPO Saturn joint venture are knocking at the door of the market for regional-jet turbofan engines. The geared-fan PW800 and the more conventional SM146 are not yet fully launched programs, but development is well under way.
Emergency AD 2003-08-52 was issued last month for the GE CT7-9B turboprop in response to 12 compressor-stall events in Saab 340Bs over a six-month period. The stalls occurred when pilots throttled back from takeoff power to climb power. Nine of the events involved engines that had the compressor variable geometry (VG) rigged to N1, one of two allowable rigging options that affords slightly higher performance at the expense of stall margin.
For aviation, the spirit of the 1950s could be said to have begun with Chuck Yeager’s breaking of the “sound barrier” in Glamorous Glennis, a rocket-powered Bell X-1, on Oct. 14, 1947. The World War that had dominated the first half of the 1940s was receding in memory, and mankind’s focus on ascending from the rubble was illustrated clearly by the advances in aviation.