It’s the little engine that thought it could. And so it did. Fifty years and more than 41,000 engines later, the PT6 from Pratt & Whitney Canada is in use by more than 6,500 operators in 182 countries. Compared with the original PT6, the latest PT6A is four times more powerful, has a 40 percent better power-to-weight ratio and 20 percent better fuel consumption. Did we mention safety? The current in-flight shutdown rate is one event per million flight hours. Heli-Expo visitors can help Pratt & Whitney Canada celebrate the PT6 50th anniversary today at 12:30 p.m.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Engines
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft powerplants.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth No. 3718) announced that the time between overhaul (TBO) for PW206 and PW207 engines has been extended to 4,000 hours, from the original 3,500 hours. The TBO extension is applicable to engines incorporating certain service bulletins and to all new PW206 and PW207 engines. Alternatively, an engine upgrade is available to operators wanting to take advantage of the increased TBO interval. “This TBO extension will help operators derive more value from their engines,” said vice president of customer service Raffaele Virgili.
Pratt & Whitney Canada has a number of engines in development for the medium-twin helicopter category. The latest version of the PT6C family, the PT6C-67E, powers the Eurocopter EC175. Meanwhile, the PW210S is about to enter into service on the now-certified Sikorsky S-76D. Two more PW210 variants will power the AgustaWestland AW169 and the Eurocopter X4. Last year, the Longueuil, Quebec-based engine manufacturer (Booth No. N3718) produced more than 850 turboshaft engines.
Rolls-Royce launched the latest version of its M250 turboshaft engine, the M250-C47E, today on the eve of Heli-Expo. The new variant replaces the -47B and -47M and incorporates the value improvement package upgrade kit that Rolls Royce introduced last year, as well as a dual-channel Fadec. As a result, the 700-shp engine boasts a 5-percent improvement in high and hot performance over its predecessor, an almost 8-percent improvement in takeoff power, to 700 shp, and reduced specific fuel consumption.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth No. 3718) plans to offer its flight data acquisition storage and transmission system (FAST) for helicopter engines. In addition, it has launched an automatic power assurance check project to run on the system. A power assurance check is a test run to determine the way the engine performance compares with its output when it was new.
For many aviation companies, the rotorcraft segment has provided some welcome stability against an uncertain economic environment. Global parts supplier Aviall is no exception and is responding to market conditions by focusing on end-customer support, and in particular reducing turnaround times for urgently needed parts and maintenance services.
Turbomeca (Booth No. C3901) is ramping up production of its turboshaft engines this year. Simultaneously, the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activity is growing, too. In new developments, Turbomeca is busy with helicopter engine upgrades to the Arriel family and the new TM800 that will power the Eurocopter X4 medium twin.
The diesel engine demonstrator, which may replace turboshafts in light helicopters, is on track for flight tests on a Eurocopter EC120 in the second half of next year. It will feature a power-to-weight ratio between those of a general aviation diesel and a turboshaft. The engine is part of the Green Rotorcraft integrated technology demonstrator (ITD), itself part of Clean Sky, the European Union’s €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) joint technology initiative.
The EASA has certified the Turbomeca Arriel 2E turboshaft; it will power the Eurocopter EC145T2, currently still undergoing certification flight-testing. The 950-shp (takeoff power) engine is scheduled to enter service by year-end. The Arriel 2E, an upgrade of the Arriel 1E2, benefits from a new axial compressor and new blade material. Time between overhaul is also improved, at 4,000 hours initially and a target 6,000 hours “at maturity.”
Honeywell Aerospace and China’s Avicopter signed a “strategic cooperation framework agreement” to consider equipping the latter company’s helicopters with Honeywell engines and avionics. Rishi Singh, Honeywell’s business and general aviation leader in the Asia-Pacific region, told AIN that his company is slated to provide avionics and engines for Avicopter’s proposed “next-generation single/twin,” which has yet to be given the green light to proceed.