NBAA Convention News

First Flight of Dassault-configured PW812D Imminent

 - October 3, 2019, 5:46 AM

Within a few weeks, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) will go ahead with first flight of the Dassault-configured PW812D turbofan on a testbed aircraft. The PW812D will power the in-development Dassault Falcon 6X.

Cedric Gauthier, director of sales and marketing for P&WC’s business aviation sector, told AIN earlier this month that the first flight of the Dassault-configured PW812D on P&WC’s Boeing 747SP testbed aircraft was “imminent." The first flight of the Dassault-configured PW812D, which is designed to produce 13,000 to 14,000 pounds of maximum takeoff thrust, will signal the beginning of the engine’s certification flight-testing campaign, according to Gauthier.

Sharing the core of the PW1200G geared-turbofan engine for the Mitsubishi SpaceJet regional airliner but neither the gear system driving the PW1200G’s fan nor the commercial engine’s low-pressure compressor stages, the PW812D has now accumulated more than 1,200 hours of running time in ground and flight tests, Gauthier said. That running time includes the time accumulated by both P&WC’s initial development-configured engines and the Dassault-configured engines P&WC is now producing.

The PW812D development program “is going extremely well,” said Gauthier, characterizing the program as now being in “high certification mode. We are hitting every milestone on development agreed with Dassault.” P&WC is confident the PW812D will be awarded its type certificate in advance of the Falcon 6X’s planned entry into service in late 2022.

The performance testing required for certification of the engine is “mostly behind us” and “we’ve completed the high-risk testing” in which the engine is subjected to physical damage, said Gauthier. The bird-ingestion, fan-blade-out, and ice and hail ingestion tests required for certification were all successfully completed. "That adds to our level of confidence in the program,” he added.

P&W is also feeling good about the PW814GA and PW815GA, which respectively power the large-cabin Gulfstream G500 and G600. By early October, 28 G500s and five G600s were in service and the in-service PW800 fleet had accumulated “close to 11,000 hours” of flight time, said Gauthier. Before the PW800 versions entered service on the Gulfstream bizjets, the two engine types together had accumulated more than 25,000 hours of ground and flight testing and—because they share a common core with the commercial PW1100G and PW1500G geared-fan engines—testing of PW814/815/1100G/1500G cores cumulatively had exceeded 110,000 hours of running time.

Additionally, Gauthier said the common core design for the four engines “will soon reach 2.5 million [flight] hours in service”—with the PW1100G core, which entered commercial service in January 2016 on the Airbus A320neo, accounting for the vast bulk of the total. The extensive testing of and in-service experience with the common core design has been “pivotal in [the PW800 versions] achieving stellar results” in terms of reliability upon entering service—“we are close to reaching the industry world-class target of 99.99 percent dispatch reliability,” he said.

As of early October, no in-service PW800 had suffered an in-flight shutdown or any other serious problem in flight. “The fleet has performed flawlessly. Gulfstream is very pleased with us being able to exceed all the [performance and reliability] levels we’ve committed to them,” said Gauthier.

Meanwhile, he said, P&WC has received a steady stream of “great comments” from Gulfstream G500 and G600 customers about “the absence of noise and vibration levels” in the cabins of the aircraft. Some customers have expressed to P&WC “a feeling of [there being] no engines around the airframe.” Additionally, various pilots have complimented P&WC on the PW800’s power-to-weight ratio and handling characteristics. “This is very pleasant for us to hear,” said Gauthier.

Support Options

To date, more than 80 percent of PW800 customers have signed up for P&WC’s ESP PurePower hourly maintenance plans for their engines, he said. For the short-to-medium term, P&WC’s maintenance facility at Mirabel Airport near Montréal (the PW800 assembly line is also located there) will remain the only facility certified to perform PW800 overhauls, in part because “we see a lot of bandwidth to grow the [MRO throughput capacity of the] Mirabel facility," he said.

However, P&WC has already trained more than 100 local service employees worldwide in providing PW800 MRO support and it is partnering with Gulfstream Aerospace on PW814/815GA product support because both companies have very extensive worldwide repair and support networks and relationships worldwide. “We are very pleased to be working with Gulfstream,” said Gauthier. In furtherance of the partnership, P&WC “has placed [parts inventory and other] assets around the world, to be proactive rather than reactive” in supporting the PW800 in service.

Together with its product-development activities, P&WC’s attention to detail in supporting its engines in service has given the company what may be the leading position for any OEM making engines for business jets. Through developing and supporting its JT15D, PW300, PW500, PW600 and PW800 families of turbofan engines, P&WC now has a 38 percent share of the entire worldwide business jet propulsion market, according to Gauthier.