Nexcelle Validates Nextgen Thrust Reverser

Farnborough Air Show » 2012
July 8, 2012, 8:00 AM

General Electric/Safran joint venture Nexcelle has successfully completed the test program for the thrust reverser on next-generation integrated propulsion systems (IPS). The technology, which the company says will deliver lower life-cycle costs and a 1.5-percent reduction in fuel burn, will be applied to powerplant such as the CFM International Leap-X1C engine for the Comac C919 regional jetliner, and the GE Passport, slated for use on the Bombardier Global 7000 and 8000 business jets.

Using Nexcelle’s new nacelle demonstrator, known as Panache (Pylon and Nacelle Advanced Configuration for High Efficiency) the system was installed on a CFM56-5C engine and logged more than 47 hours of operation on a test stand at GE Aviation’s Peebles, Ohio facility.

The test runs–which included 200 cycles simulating normal deployments, rejected takeoff deployments and aborted landings–were completed a week ahead of schedule, demonstrating, according the company, the maturity of the IPS design and hardware.

Nexcelle completed the full-scale component test during May and is now tearing down the engine to examine the hardware. The trials included more than 100 test cycles in which the thrust reversers were deployed normally and also as if being operated for aborted takeoffs and landings.

Company president Huntley Myrie told AIN that the successful tests will reduce the risk factor associated with the development schedule for the new technology and for its operational performance. “Now we will go through a lot of data reduction and the next step will be to use the information to refine the model and we will use this to finalize the industrialization plan,” he explained.

Nexcelle’s new thrust reverser configuration features a single-piece composite O-duct that supplants the two-piece “D” doors found in traditional reversers. The composite structure offers the benefit of reduced weight as well as elimination of the traditional flow-path bifurcation, increasing the efficiency of the reverser. Another design feature has the entire O-duct moving aftward into the reverse thrust position thereby eliminating the use of drag links in the secondary flow-path.

The company has employed an electrical thrust reverser actuation system (Etras) on the unit instead of the hydraulic system actuators used in most current production engines. As demonstrated on the Airbus A380, the benefits of Etras include greater reliability, improved maintainability and additional weight savings.

At the conclusion of the tests, the system hardware was said to be in excellent condition. The Panache demonstrator components were returned to Aircelle’s headquarters in Le Havre, France, and GE’s Middle River, Maryland aircraft systems production site for detailed inspection.

Nexcelle is integrating five components in the IPS, including the exhaust, “and they all have to come together seamlessly for the engine to work,” explained Myrie. “We are working on an optimized solution across all the [IPS] components so there is more flexibility in the system. Having one systems integrator working on this means less [program] management burden for the airframer.”

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