We hear a lot about turbofan engine research, in such things as unducted fans, open-rotor designs and geared turbofans. Where is rotorcraft engine technology headed?
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Engines
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft powerplants.
StandardAero believes the industry is emerging from “one of the most challenging markets in the history of general aviation” and is bringing that optimism and confidence to Heli-Expo 2010.
The ongoing worldwide need for helicopters of all types that serve diverse industry and government segments is helping keep manufacturers like Rolls-Royce busy. Current Rolls-Royce engine programs include the RR500 turboshaft and turboprop, the already certified RR300 and the venerable M250. The LHTEC T800 partnership with Honeywell also remains active, with four first flights last year.
Turbine-engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce predicted robust growth for the global helicopter market over the next decade at a Heli-Expo press conference yesterday, with total deliveries of more than 16,400 turbine helicopters valued at $146 billion in its 2010 to 2019 forecast horizon. The helicopters will require approximately 26,000 new turbine engines valued at about $12 billion, according to the company.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has two helicopter engine programs nearing the final stages of development and both remain on schedule.
Engine manufacturer Turbomeca is revamping its Tech 600 and Tech 800 demonstrators to enhance fuel efficiency in the 500- to 1,000-shp power category and increase power density in the 1,000- to 1,500-shp bracket, respectively. The goal of Techsys, a third demonstrator, is to resduce Fadec costs by 20 percent through simplification.
NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) were pleased to learn that the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 federal budget proposal–released yesterday–does not include new user fees for general aviation. The previous proposal, issued a year ago, contained a provision that would “replace some aviation excise taxes with direct user charges” in 2011.
Pratt & Whitney’s new PW1000G–formerly known as the Geared Turbofan–found its third application this month in the MC-21 narrowbody under development by Russia’s Irkut Corporation. For Irkut, Pratt’s willingness to spend the resources necessary to adapt a 30,000-pound-thrust version of the PW1000G to power a hypothetical Russian airliner lent some much desired credibility to the still relatively obscure program.
Turbomeca is pressing ahead with a radical design for a new generation of helicopter engines to deliver a quantum leap in operational efficiency. “If we do not shoot for a 30- to 50-percent improvement in fuel burn for 20 to 30 years from now, the helicopter will be no more than an airshow attraction and will no longer be a business tool,” the French company’s president Pierre Fabre told AIN.
Helicopter turboshaft manufacturers are incorporating new technologies in their engines to lower fuel burn, enhance capabilities and reduce operating costs. The major manufacturers are developing engines to meet these demands, along with the need for more power and lower emissions.