On December 22, GE Aviation completed the first run of its new Advanced Turboprop (ATP) engine at GE’s Prague engine manufacturing facility in the Czech Republic. The first application for the 1,240-shp ATP is the Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop, which is scheduled to fly in late 2018. Engine certification testing begins in 2018.
With a 16:1 overall pressure ratio, the engine is expected to offer 20 percent lower fuel burn and 10 percent higher cruise power compared with competing engines. Time between overhaul is set at 4,000 hours. The ATP is part of a family that will include engines in the 1,000- to 1,600-shp range.
According to GE, the ATP “is the first turboprop engine in its class to introduce two stages of variable stator vanes and cooled high-pressure turbine blades.” Manufacturing will be simpler due to extensive use of 3D printed components (additive manufacturing) to make 35 percent of the engine’s parts such as sumps, bearing housings, frames, exhaust case, combustor liner, heat exchangers, and stationary flow path components. Additive manufacturing replaces 855 conventionally manufactured parts with just 12 parts and lowers engine weight by 5 percent. This adds up to a 1 percent specific fuel consumption improvement.
“Running the Advanced Turboprop engine this year was our biggest and most important goal,” said Brad Mottier, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation's BGA and Integrated Systems organization. “This milestone comes as a result of two years of tremendous effort by a worldwide team. We're developing a real catalyst for the BGA market, and we're executing on plan. The integration of proven technologies has expedited the design, development, and certification cycle of the engine.”
Under an agreement recently finalized with the Czech Republic, GE Aviation is building a turboprop headquarters for development, test, and engine-production in Prague, and this facility will eventually employ an additional 500 people.