The new Sikorsky S-76D medium twin recently performed high-altitude takeoff and landing tests at Colorado’s Lake County Airport, the helicopter manufacturer announced last week. The trials, which took place at almost 10,000 feet msl, were part of a so-called envelope-expansion program.
Snecma plans soon to start another phase of open-rotor engine testing using a one-fifth scale model, in a research and technology effort that epitomizes how laborious developing a new commercial engine concept can be. The concept, based on contra-rotating high-speed propellers, may not find itself in service before 2025. Nevertheless, trials aimed at cutting noise while retaining the huge efficiency advantage of the open rotor’s architecture are well under way.
GE Aviation started testing its new fourth-generation composite fan blades for the new GE9X turbofan, the company announced last week. Chosen to power the new Boeing 777X, the 100,000-pound-thrust-class engine promises a 10-percent fuel burn improvement over the GE90-115B–the engine that powers the Boeing 777-300ER.
Raisbeck Engineering’s swept-blade propellers for 200-series King Airs have been certified by the EASA, adding to a previous FAA approval. Thanks to a higher blade sweep and increased propeller diameter, the new propellers provide for quieter operation and increased thrust, according to Raisbeck. They provide more than 1,090-feet improvement in published FAA takeoff performance compared with the OEM propellers, Raisbeck said. Deliveries of production swept-blade propellers began in the U.S. in March.
Aero engines continue to represent “a robust investment opportunity” for those trading in the market for leased spares, according to the International Bureau of Aviation (IBA). However, the UK-based consultancy’s 2013 Engines Value Book, published last week, shows significant variations in engine values and shifts in demand for leased powerplants.
Parker Aerospace and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) held a contract-signing ceremony just ahead of the Paris Air Show to form two joint venture companies in support of Comac’s new C919 program.
Despite some vacillation by ATR and Bombardier, who are still studying the form their respective 90-seat regional airliners might take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new turboprop engine continues on a “critical path” to an expected launch next year, according to Richard Dussault, company vice president of marketing.
Boeing’s confirmation in March that GE Aviation will provide the new GE9X engine to power its proposed 777X development marked the culmination of three years of preliminary work between the engine maker and the airframer in their quest to be in a position to promise a 10 percent reduction in fuel burn compared with the GE90-115B engines on the existing 777-300ER. Also promised is a 5 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption over rival widebody engines by 2020.
Raisbeck Engineering’s swept-blade “turbofan propellers” for the King Air 200 series are now approved in Brazil after the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) granted certification late last month.
A spokesperson for Raisbeck Engineering told AIN, “There are about 500 King Airs in Brazil alone, making it a major market for us. We hope that the swept-blade prop reenergizes our presence in the South American region and we’ll be focusing a lot of our attention on the market as it continues to grow.”
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., will incorporate five turbofan components from previously repaired engines, a donation from Snecma America Engine Services (Sames), into its aerospace and mechanical engineering programs.
The donated items (a fan shaft assembly, thrust bearing, compressor rotor shaft, fuel manifold ring and high-pressure turbine rear shaft) came from a CFM56-5A, the engine that powers single-aisle aircraft such as the Airbus A319 and A320. The components will help expand engineering students’ understanding of turbine engines.