The price of maintaining Rolls-Royce Spey engines, which power the Gulfstream II and III, has dropped dramatically over the last several years, according to MRO shops and operators. Gulfstream made 460 GIIs and GIIIs between 1966 and 1987, but operators increasingly are scrapping them in response to rising fuel prices and more stringent anti-noise requirements that will require the installation of hush kits or restrict operations.
Snecma appears to be giving itself more time before beginning flight-testing of its first business jet engine: the Silvercrest. But the apparent delay in what had been projected at last year’s EBACE show as a first flight in the first half of 2013 will likely have little bearing on the certification path for the new turbofan’s first applications.
Despite some vacillation on the part of airframe OEMs still studying the form their respective 90-seat turboprop might finally take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s engine offering continues on what company vice president of marketing Richard Dussault called a critical path leading to expected launch next year.
Raisbeck/Hartzell swept-blade “turbofan propellers” entered service this month on a King Air B200. This aircraft is also the first installation of the Epic Platinum Performance Package with the new swept-blade props.
Many cockpit crewmembers believe the ingestion of ice crystals by a jet engine is essentially harmless if the engine’s igniters are turned on. However, aeronautical engineers generally do not agree, citing incidents when mixing ice with standard intake air resulted in a noticeable reduction in engine power output and, at its worst, a complete engine flameout. Ice formation inside an engine compartment can also lead to indicator anomalies that may not shut down the engine, but may lead to air data system failures.
“No traditional business jet will take you closer to the speed of sound,” promises Gulfstream in an announcement about its recently certified G650, which boasts a maximum velocity of Mach 0.925.
Missouri senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat) hit the nail on the head when she wrote to the FAA about easing rules on the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) in aircraft. Her letter seeks to have the FAA reconsider restrictions on PEDs, citing as one example the fact that many airline pilots are now using switched-on iPads during taxi, takeoff and landing without any problems.
The supersonic business jet development program continues at Gulfstream Aerospace, but until the FAA decides to define “quiet” as it relates to the so-called sonic boom, “We just don’t see a business case,” said a spokesman.
In a series of patent filings last summer, Gulfstream emphasized mitigating the noise produced by the sonic boom, pointing out that regulations currently prohibit supersonic flight over populated areas.
Turboprop-engine manufacturers continue to develop technologies in anticipation of future demand for new or derivative regional airliners designed to carry approximately 90 passengers, a step up from contemporary aircraft offering around 70 seats. By January 1, Pratt & Whitney Canada hoped to have completed the first phase of a next-generation regional turboprop (NGRT) demonstration program intended to validate characteristics for a main centrifugal compressor. Meanwhile, U.S.
Snecma has started running the first Silvercrest turbofan at its Villaroche test facility near Paris, France. With 11,000 pounds of thrust, two of the units will power the Cessna Longitude super-midsize business jet.