GE's TechX to cut fuel burn and emissions
Officials with GE Aviation announced the launch of the TechX engine at NBAA on Monday, but weren't about to go into detail until Bombardier made its formal announcement of the Global 7000 and 8000.
A technical briefing Tuesday gave more insight into what we can expect from the engine when it receives certification in 2016.
The company hopes to see the TechX best its competitors in fuel burn by about 8 percent. Officials also believe it will overstep emission requirements by 50 percent.
When addressing requirements set forth by the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, GE Aviation vice president Brad Mottier said engineers would take into account emissions during takeoff and landing, when they are most concentrated.
"There is data to suggest that nitrous oxide emissions at altitude are an issue as well," Mottier said. "We will be looking very closely into that to see if improvements can be made.
The new powerplant employs a few tricks GE Aviation has developed in its commercial and military markets.
"I was given the ability to go around GE like a kid in a candy store to develop the business and GA engines," Mottier said.
The lowered emissions and higher-efficiency of the engine come from GE's branded eCore Technology, mostly design philosophies tailored to the commercial market.
A spinoff of that technology is Leap-X which was a honing of the same concepts for narrow-body aircraft.
GE also applied the "blisk" it developed for some of its military engines. Normally used for compressor blades, a blisk is a single-piece fan, in which the blades and the disks that connect them to the hub are hewn from a single piece of metal.
"The engineers are going to have to design the fan to be much more tolerant of strikes and FOD," said Chuck Nugent, CF34 program manager. "We will, of course, test it to the standards required for certification and beyond."
Engineers must also take good care to ensure as much work can be done on-wing as possible.
"We've done a digital pre-assembly which allows us to simulate the engine to test ease of tooling," Nugent said.
TechX and Bombardier aren't the only names GE is dropping around the show this year. The company is still active with the two programs that started its business and general aviation unit: the HF120 it is building for the HondaJet and the rebirth of the Walter M601, dubbed the H80.
"We are in talks with airframers about both the H80 and HF120," Mottier said, but declined to go into further detail.
GE engineers have been dutifully putting the HondaJet powerplant through its paces in a very unusual manner. Its first run took place at altitude. Rather, simulated altitude, as they put the engine in an altitude chamber in Cincinnati, Ohio, and ran it up to 46,000 ft without ever leaving the ground, according to Mottier. Since then, they've gotten it up to Mach 0.85 at altitude and have yet to actually put it on an airframe.
Engineers also ran the engine through the turbulence chamber GE Commercial Engines used for the GE90 flying on Boeing's 777 airliner.
Mottier said he expects the HF120 will receive FAA and EASA certification next year.