While the looming threat of budget sequestration kept more than a few aerospace executives up at night, Safran USA president Peter Lengyel spent most of his waking hours preparing his company for any eventuality. That doesn’t mean he welcomed the prospect of drastic spending cuts to medevac services, law enforcement and border patrol. After all, the U.S. federal government is, in effect, Safran’s biggest customer.
Gleaming on the Safran display (Stand 357) is a mock-up of the Snecma Silvercrest engine, which has been selected for the Cessna Citation Longitude super-midsize business jet. Displaying the model, which was first shown a few weeks ago at NBAA, underlines the fact that Silvercrest is now a program moving fast towards certification in 2015.
The Microturbo e-APU60, a new concept in auxiliary power units (APUs), recently completed a 150-hour block test and is progressing toward certification, Microturbo, a Safran Group company, announced at the NBAA Convention. “These tests gave us the opportunity to validate the reliability and the endurance of this new concept, meeting our expectations and those of our first customer, AgustaWestland,” said Pierre-Yves Morvan, CEO of Microturbo. “This milestone represents a significant step forward for the program.”
Safran USA (Booth No. 2579) is flexing some considerable muscle here at the convention, showing a diverse role in the business aircraft market that stretches from nose to tail and wingtip to wingtip. Among the aviation products available from this global conglomerate are turbofan engines, nacelles, thrust reversers, landing gear, wheels and brakes, auxiliary power units, avionics, navigation systems, flight controls and wiring.
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty will be Eurocopter’s single-source supplier for wheels and brakes on the new X4 medium-twin helicopter. The Safran company will provide the two nosewheels, two main wheels and two electric brakes, the electronic brake controller and four brake pedal transmitter units. Messier-Bugatti-Dowty’s electric brakes are designed “to reduce weight, while retaining excellent friction properties” and simplifying maintenance.
Norwegian Air Shuttle has selected Messier-Bugatti-Dowty wheels and electric brakes for its new Boeing 787s, the equipment manufacturer announced here at the show. Deliveries of the new airliner are scheduled to begin in 2013. The Safran company’s electric brakes have been designed to reduce weight while improving service availability, simplifying maintenance and increasing durability.
Sagem, part of France’s Safran Group, and Germany’s MTU Aero Engine have formed a 50-50 joint venture company for equipment control software and hardware. Dubbed Aerospace Embedded Solutions (AES), the new company will provide “safety-critical” products for military and civil aviation with applications including engines, landing gear and thrust reversers.
Peter Lengyel, president and CEO of Safran USA, understands why most Americans aren’t familiar with his company. After all, it is only six years old. But Safran is a huge global company with 57,000 employees worldwide and a global presence, with products aviation-industry people and air travelers probably use, one way or another, almost every day.
“We are the merger of Snecma and Sagem, which occurred in 2005. Sagem is avionics and optronics and Snecma is the largest propulsion company in the world,” said Lengyel, at the Safran display (Booth No. 7517).
Sagem Avionics, part of the Safran group, is at Booth No. 7517 celebrating Slave Lake Helicopters’ selection of Sagem’s Integrated Cockpit Display System (ICDS) for its new Eurocopter AS350 B3e. That machine joins three others in the Slave Lake fleet, an AS350 B2, an EC120 and a Bell 206 B3, all with the Sagem ICDS.
Olivier Andriès, who has been the CEO of Turbomeca since June, predicts that helicopter engines will become fuel-electric hybrids around 2030. He also predicted that, in about 20 years, conventional turbine engine performance will be close to an asymptote. By that, he meant further improvement of turbine technology will be enormously difficult and expensive, if not impossible. So the next step will be hybridization, he said. “We will see integrated propulsion systems using thermodynamic and electric solutions,” he told AIN.