Rolls-Royce (R-R) is developing continuous improvements for mature Trent engines, with new technology flowing from later models into established variants, according to program director John Hogarth. Since the original Trent–the Series700–entered service on a Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 in 1985, successive variants have been introduced to constitute a “tailored family” enjoying common architecture, but with each model dedicated to specific airframes.
Despite some vacillation by ATR and Bombardier, who are still studying the form their respective 90-seat regional airliners might take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new turboprop engine continues on a “critical path” to an expected launch next year, according to Richard Dussault, company vice president of marketing.
A major breakthrough in heat exchanger technology has removed one of the greatest obstacles to development of an air-breathing rocket engine slated to enable spaceflight by the Skylon reusable spaceplane.
UK company Fine Tubes (Hall 2B E170) has managed to produce 2,000 kilometers of ultra-fine, lightweight nickel alloy tubing necessary to enable the heat exchangers at the heart of the new engine to cool airstreams from over 1000 degrees C to minus 150 degrees C in less than 1/100th of a second. The wall thickness of the tubing is half the diameter of a human hair.
Orders from Singapore Airlines covering up to 50 additional Rolls-Royce (R-R) Trent XWB-engined A350-900s boosted Airbus as it made final preparations late last month [May] for the new airliner’s first flight. The Asian carrier has booked 30 examples and taken options on 20 more (convertible to larger A350-1000s), boosting the total number of A350-900s it has ordered to 70.
Boeing’s confirmation in March that GE Aviation will provide the new GE9X engine to power its proposed 777X development marked the culmination of three years of preliminary work between the engine maker and the airframer in their quest to be in a position to promise a 10 percent reduction in fuel burn compared with the GE90-115B engines on the existing 777-300ER. Also promised is a 5 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption over rival widebody engines by 2020.
As Pratt & Whitney Canada (Chalet (A) 330) saw revenues from its business jet engine segment suffer through one of the industry’s steepest downturns in history, the company’s highly diversified product line has allowed it to, as P&WC president John Saabas put it, “ride the wave” of fortune in other sectors and consolidate its leading position in the small engine business.
Pratt & Whitney CEO David Hess doesn’t spend time lamenting his company’s decision to forgo a bid for a place on Boeing’s proposed 777X. In fact, during a recent interview with AIN at his company’s campus in West Palm Beach, Florida, Hess expressed not an inkling of regret, evidently taking comfort in the narrowbody market’s virtually unequivocal acceptance of his company’s geared turbofan platform. “Our plate’s pretty full right now,” said Hess.
Aerometals has received PMA approval for spiral bevel gears for the main rotor transmission of the MD500. According to the company, the approval marks the first time the FAA has granted manufacturing approval for transmission gears to a company that is not the OEM. The testing required a test stand using a 500-hp electric motor instead of a gas turbine. The MD transmission is rated for 425 hp for up to five minutes, but Aerometals ran the gears for eight hours at 467 hp to satisfy FAA testing requirements.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., will incorporate five turbofan components from previously repaired engines, a donation from Snecma America Engine Services (Sames), into its aerospace and mechanical engineering programs.
The donated items (a fan shaft assembly, thrust bearing, compressor rotor shaft, fuel manifold ring and high-pressure turbine rear shaft) came from a CFM56-5A, the engine that powers single-aisle aircraft such as the Airbus A319 and A320. The components will help expand engineering students’ understanding of turbine engines.
A switch from composite to titanium for the inner walls of the thrust reversers on the Boeing 737 Max has allowed designers to increase the fan diameter in the airplane’s CFM International Leap-1B turbofans without a proportional increase in the size of the nacelle. The relatively minimal growth of the nacelle means Boeing could keep its original plans for coping with the small amount of ground clearance margin available while optimizing thrust levels, explained 737 Max program vice president and general manager Keith Leverkuhn.