General Electric and Rolls-Royce tie for first place among turbofan manufacturers, each scoring an overall average of 8.0 for the quality of product support they provide their customers. Compared with last year, that score represented an improvement of 5 percent for GE and 1 percent for R-R.
GE has finished the first round of checks on all in-service and spare GEnx turbofans ahead of the September 21 publication of a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness directive (AD) that calls for ultrasonic inspection of early-build engines’ fan midshafts every 90 days. GE has developed a field ultrasonic method to inspect the suspect area of the engines while they remain on the airplanes.
Joined by top U.S. transportation officials, Boeing and American Airlines showcased the 737-800 “ecoDemonstrator” flying testbed at Washington Reagan National Airport on September 18. Boeing flew the aircraft from its flight-test facility at Glasgow, Montana, one day earlier using a biofuel blend partially made from used cooking oil.
GE expects the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to issue an airworthiness directive (AD) detailing inspection intervals for GEnx engines “within a day or two,” following the latest contained failure of a GEnx-2B in Shanghai, China.
Rolls-Royce has completed testing of the latest build of a research two-shaft engine core, known as “Core 3/2d,” as part of the E3E (efficiency, environment, economy) program. The core evaluation campaign ends without a previously planned endurance test, however. E3E technology forms the basis of Rolls-Royce’s Advance2 future two-shaft engine program, which targets entry into service in 2018.
An airworthiness directive has been issued for all Honeywell TFE731-20R, -20AR, -20BR, -40, -40AR, -40R, -50R and -60 turbofan engines. It was prompted by a report of a quality escape of about 8,000 second-stage low-pressure turbine (LPT2) rotor blades manufactured by Honeywell’s Chihuahua, Mexico, manufacturing operation since 2009. This AD requires removing and inspecting certain LPT2 rotor blades. Cost of the fix is $3,480.
Two study contracts have been placed with industry after last week’s Anglo-French agreement on further exploration of a joint UCAV development. BAE Systems, together with Dassault Aviation, and Rolls-Royce with Snecma will work on the demonstration program preparation phase (DPPP) of the proposed future combat air system (FCAS). The value and duration of the work were not stated.
All Nippon Airways returned to service the last of five grounded Boeing 787s on July 30, a little more than a week after Rolls-Royce discovered a defect in a batch of Trent 1000 engines installed in the airplanes.
Another Boeing 787 engine problem—this time involving a General Electric GEnx turbofan in an airplane destined for Air India—sparked a grass fire at Charleston International Airport during a pre-flight test on Saturday, forcing the airport to close its main runway for more than an hour.
Dassault has begun cutting metal for its still-under-wraps Falcon super-midsize (SMS) business jet. The first parts reportedly are being manufactured for testing purposes at its Argenteuil factory northwest of Paris.
A cockpit subassembly will be used for bird-strike trials, and leading-edge slats will undergo de-icing tests. In addition, a testbed is being readied for the fuel system.