GE Aviation Begins Flight Trials of Passport Turbofan

 - January 6, 2015, 10:36 AM
On December 30, GE Aviation started flight-testing its Passport engine on a company-owned Boeing 747-100 testbed. The engine, mounted on the 747's number-two pylon, successfully demonstrated aircraft systems and instrumentation functionality. The Passport will power Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000 ultra-long-range business jets. (Photo: GE Aviation)

GE Aviation started flight-testing its Passport engine, which will power Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000, on a company-owned Boeing 747-100 testbed. On December 30, a single Passport mounted on the 747’s number-two pylon successfully demonstrated aircraft systems and instrumentation functionality. Flight-testing will continue until the engine receives FAA certification this year.

To date, the Passport engine has logged more than 750 hours and 300 cycles of testing on the ground. GE Aviation said that before entry into service the engine will accumulate the equivalent of 10 years of flying for an average Bombardier Global 7000 or 8000 operator—more than 4,000 hours and 8,000 cycles.

Most recently, GE completed hail and bird-ingestion certification tests and is currently instrumenting Passport engines for water ingestion and fan-blade-out certification tests that will start “in the coming weeks.” Last year the company completed ice-ingestion tests and ground testing in an altitude chamber that demonstrated engine performance and operability up to 51,000 feet.

The Passport for the new Globals will produce 16,500 pounds of thrust and provide 8-percent lower specific fuel consumption than other engines in its class, while still meeting CAEP/6 emissions and Stage 4 noise restrictions, according to GE. Fresh technologies on the Passport include a composite fan case, 52-inch front fan blisk and smooth “super finish” surfaces on high-pressure compressor blades and blisks, as well as an exhaust mixer, centerbody and core cowls made of lightweight oxide-oxide ceramic matrix composites.