Engine manufacturers are here at EBACE providing a glimpse at where powerplant technology is going for business aviation with several clean-sheet designs or derivatives under development. Honeywell and Rolls-Royce each are working on two programs for business jets, while Pratt & Whitney Canada is involved in one. New players in the field–GE Honda and Snecma–each have a brand-new turbofan to promote, but the latter has yet to find
Rolls-Royce Trent 900
Australia’s Qantas Airways today kicked off scheduled service with its new Airbus A380 between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia. The first Qantas flight from Melbourne to the U.S. on the jumboliner landed on Runway 25L at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at about 7:30 a.m.
While most of the activity at Honeywell’s Phoenix-based engines division continues to focus on evolutionary improvements to its in-production turbine engine lines, research and development of new technologies aimed at a future 10,000-pound-thrust turbofan for the business jet market is steadily moving forward.
After missing out on key program selections for the new Airbus A350XWB and Boeing 787 programs, French nacelle maker Aircelle is laying plans for what
Turbine-engine technology development is going in two directions. One is the development of new technology to push the envelope of performance, operational safety, maintainability and reliability. The other is to refine and update existing engines for long-term use, especially in light of more stringent Stage 4 requirements and existing Stage 3 rules.
Starting with its first “clean sheet” engine design since 1972, but minus one of the two original customers, Honeywell brought the new AS907 to dual FAA engine and production certification in June, just 44 months after the project was launched.
Two and a half years after its first flight, the Airbus A380 airliner entered service late in October with Singapore Airlines (SIA). While SIA has received the only example of the super large airliner slated for 2007 delivery, next August Emirates Airline is slated to get the first of the 55 A380s it has ordered to date.
In recent years, engine manufacturers have shifted their emphasis from straightforward production of engines to the far more lucrative business of after-sales support.
Rolls-Royce is no exception. In the last decade, its TotalCare engines business has expanded by a healthy 10 percent a year, creating a business that by the end of 2006 was worth $3.9 billion–more than half the company’s total civil engines business.
Manufacturers of nacelles and thrust reversers have no less interest in introducing new technology to their designs than do the suppliers of the engines inside them.
Having promised so much and letting its A380 launch customers down so dismally with the news of serious program delays, Airbus is understandably cautious in its prognosis for the super-large airliner’s immediate future. All the talk in press briefings before the Paris Air Show concentrated on achieving “maturity” and “sustainability” for the program.