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.
Rotorcraft » Rotorcraft Engines
News and issues regarding all manner of civil and military rotorcraft powerplants.
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.
One of Heli-Expo’09’s worst-kept secrets, the Rolls-Royce RR500 turboshaft engine, was unveiled Monday afternoon in a brief but hearing-impairment-inducing ceremony at the engine maker’s booth. The RR500 turboshaft, a 475-shp derivative of the RR300 that powers the in-development Robinson R66, is scheduled for certification in late 2011. A turboprop version of the RR500 was first announced last summer at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.
Bell Helicopter (Booth No. 3975) has launched a Web site for its Helicopter Professional Pilots Safety Program (Heliprops). In addition to information about the program, which provides training and industry news, the Web site (www.heliprops.com) also offers access to the manufacturer’s online newsletter, Human AD. The Web site is a free resource for pilots, mechanics, owners, operators and enthusiasts.
Precision Air Group (Booth No. 2960), which provides overhaul and repair for Honeywell LTS101 and TPE331, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney Canada fuel controls and accessories, is here at Heli-Expo highlighting the opening of its new facility in Vancouver, B.C. PAG also has a facility in Atlanta, Precision Avionics, as well as the two Canadian companies, Precision Heliparts and Precision Accessories and Instruments.
Start Pac (Booth No. 1734) is here at Heli-Expo’09 displaying the first lithium battery-powered ground power unit (GPU). The Li2800QC lasts twice as long as lead-acid batteries and is 42 percent lighter and 33 percent smaller than other batteries, according to Smart Pac.
Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth No. 624) remains committed to developing new engine products whatever the impact of the global downturn on a changing industry, according to president John Saabas. He told HAI Convention News that last year had been “a peak year” for the Canadian manufacturer.
A prevailing gloomy economic outlook notwithstanding, Turbomeca projected an air of optimism at a Saturday afternoon press briefing when Pierre Fabre, the company’s chairman and CEO, declared that the French turboshaft engine manufacturer has “long-term confidence in the helicopter market.” He said Turbomeca’s immediate goal is to stabilize activity at the same high level achieved in 2008 when it built 1,313 engines and recorded “the best over
The Honeywell/Pratt & Whitney joint-venture Advanced Turbine Engine Co. (ATEC) successfully completed the preliminary design review by the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and other government customers for the advanced affordable turbine engine (AATE) technology demonstrator program.
Since the August 2007 acquisition of StandardAero (Booth No. 1918) by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), the Tempe, Ariz.-based company has launched a number of new initiatives, including the expansion and redesign of some of its facilities, the opening of a new PW600 test cell and the implementation of a safety management system (SMS).