Composites and other new and expensive materials play key roles in the engines that will power new single-aisle airliners, such as the Comac C919, Bombardier C Series and, possibly, Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 upgrades. Pratt & Whitney and CFM aim to make their future engines more efficient with material changes-some low profile, others better known-that all contribute to double-digit improvements in fuel consumption.
General Electric GEnx
It seems Boeing hasn’t convinced everyone of the value of its standard engine interface feature on the 787 Dreamliner, which the company says allows quick and cost-effective changeability between the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000s and GE GEnx-1B turbofans chosen to power the airplane.
GE Aviation plans to spend $63.5 million over the next six years to diversify its product line at its manufacturing plant in Bromont, Quebec, GE Canada announced today.
Québec Premier Jean Charest and Clement Gignac, minister of economic development, innovation and export trade, announced financial assistance of up to $13.3 million from the Strategic Support for Investment (PASI), managed by Investissement Québec.
The crash of an Indian Navy trainer and lackluster attendance cast a pall over what attendees might otherwise have remembered as a commercially productive India Aviation 2010 airshow, held March 3 to 7 in Hyderabad. In fact, the show provided a stage for a series of important commercial developments, led by the opening of a new CFM56 Training Center in the host city.
General Electric has started wind-tunnel testing of multiple one-fifth-scale configurations for its open-rotor engine to identify the optimum blade design. Minimal noise output and minimal specific fuel consumption are primary benefits derived from the two counter-rotating stages of blades.
The Boeing 787-3 program appears all but dead after Boeing vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth yesterday expressed grave doubts about the market viability of the short-range version of the present 787-8. “This is an airplane that is designed for the Japanese market. We have no Japanese customers. We have no customers for it at all,” said Tinseth. “I would find it far fetched to believe that we’ll proceed with that airplane.”
Boeing announced this morning that it completed the first engine runs for the 747-8 Freighter as the program inches closer to first flight, expected next month. “We are very pleased with the engines’ performance during this test,” said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 program. “The engines and all the systems performed as expected."
Recessions come and go, but the quest to develop ever more efficient engines for the next generation of single-aisle aircraft continues. Given the time it takes to develop new powerplant technologies, which can be measured in decades, engine manufacturers have to be more confident than most of eventual recovery in the airline industry if the millions spent on research and development are not to be wasted.
Boeing mechanics last Friday completed the installation of the new General Electric GEnx-2B engines on the first 747-8 Freighter in final assembly at the factory in Everett, Wash., the company announced today.