The NTSB has issued an “urgent” safety recommendation calling for a redesign of the Rolls-Royce RB211 Trent 800 Series engines in Boeing 777s after two separate reported incidents of thrust rollbacks due to ice accumulation on the engines’ fuel/oil heat exchanger (FOHE).
UK-based Rolls-Royce and GKN Aerospace have established a joint venture to study the use of composite materials in fan blades. The engine manufacturer and the aerostructure specialist are investing, on a 51-49 basis, £11 million ($22 million) in
a research and development program. For Rolls-Royce, this could signal a major shift from a well established design choice.
Rolls-Royce and British Airways are embarking on a study to identify practical alternatives to jet fuel that would make real reductions to aircraft carbon footprints. The companies will initiate a joint tender process, inviting suppliers to offer alternative fuel samples for testing on a Rolls-Royce RB211 from a British Airways Boeing 747.
Russian airframer Irkut wants Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney to bid against each other with Russian partners in the tender to provide a powerplant for the new MS-21 airliner that it expects to launch this summer.
The success of Rolls-Royce’s flight test program for the Boeing 787’s Trent 1000 engine has led it to consider retaining the Boeing 747 it acquired for the tests and using it as a flying test bed for future programs. These programs include the new RB212 turbofan Rolls-Royce is developing for the Dassault Falcon super mid-size business jet.
Price Induction, a startup company based in Anglet, France, is studying a 560-lb-thrust high-bypass-ratio turbofan that would establish a new thrust class. Applications of the DGEN380 would be four-seaters, allowing pilots to upgrade from piston singles to twinjets. Another market could be airline-pilot training.
Rolls-Royce has awarded Dubai International Capital-owned Doncasters (Stand W216) a contract to repair and overhaul front combustion liners in annular combustors on several turbofans. Under the agreement, Rolls-Royce will subcontract all RB211-535C/-524 work and some of the -535E4 work to Doncasters, while the Airmotive division of Doncasters Aerospace Components in Shrewsbury, UK, handles repairs.
N3 Engine Overhaul Services–a joint venture between Rolls-Royce (Stand W206) and Lufthansa Technik (Stand C518)–opened officially in September. It is the latest in a global network of Trent engine overhaul facilities.
Tupolev’s Tu-204 airliner, which has drawn only modest orders in the past several years, has begun to make inroads in several new markets, including Iran. Earlier this year Russia and Iran signed a multi-pronged deal that includes the sale of the Tu-204 and Russian assistance in launching Iranian communications satellites.
With fuel prices at noticeably higher levels and Stage 4 noise requirements proposed to take effect next January 1, industry and government are working furiously on ways to make turbine engines even more efficient, while further reducing emissions and noise output. NASA is leading the charge, with plenty of help from the engine manufacturers themselves.
- Page 2