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.
The price of maintaining Rolls-Royce Spey engines, which power the Gulfstream II and III, has dropped dramatically over the last several years, according to MRO shops and operators. Gulfstream made 460 GIIs and GIIIs between 1966 and 1987, but operators increasingly are scrapping them in response to rising fuel prices and more stringent anti-noise requirements that will require the installation of hush kits or restrict operations.
The Tech 800 core engine demonstrator made its first run last month at Turbomeca’s Bordes, France headquarters, the company announced last week. A high-pressure spool for the 1,100-shp engine class, the Tech 800 is a precursor to the engine manufacturer’s TM800 Arrano. The Arrano turboshaft will power the Eurocopter X4 medium twin, a Dauphin successor planned for 2017.
Despite some vacillation on the part of airframe OEMs still studying the form their respective 90-seat turboprop might finally take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s engine offering continues on what company vice president of marketing Richard Dussault called a critical path leading to expected launch next year.
Diamond Aircraft is exhibiting a mockup of a DA50 single with a 450-shp Motor Sich-Ivchenko AI450S turboprop engine this week at Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 in Germany. This engine would improve the performance of the seven-seat airplane, which was announced in 2006 with a 275-hp diesel engine as the DA50 SuperStar. Since then the SuperStar’s development stalled and it has yet to be certified, even though this milestone was originally planned for mid-2010.