Business jet engine programs this year seem to be moving slowly, with little progress to report. Some–like the Snecma Silvercrest–have not been officially launched yet and are still looking for an application. Most news comes from derivative engine programs at Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Williams International.
Business jet manufacturers are quietly progressing toward more-electric architectures, where electricity replaces hydraulic and pneumatic power in systems such as brakes, landing gear or even control-surface actuation. This avoids the use of environmentally unfriendly hydraulic fluids and ultimately should help reduce fuel burn.
Turbofan manufacturers are developing cleaner, quieter and more environmentally friendly engines that will meet current and future regulatory requirements. That fact should come as no surprise, since they have been doing this all along as the natural byproduct of efforts to build more fuel-efficient and quieter turbofans for a market that demands nothing less.
Rolls-Royce is putting all its cards on a new engine to power future single-aisle aircraft and told AIN that as far as it is concerned, “the numbers do not stack up” for re-engining either the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737.
The air transport industry was caught off guard in April when huge plumes of ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano effectively shut down flying in Europe for a week, stranding thousands of passengers and draining at least $1 billion from air carriers.
Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine has achieved a first for the Lockheed Martin F-35 program by accelerating the F-35B STOVL version through the sound barrier last month. The test aircraf–BF-2–climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 1.07 at the off-shore test track near NAS Patuxent River in Maryland on June 14. The F-35 has supercruise capability and does not require the use of engine afterburner to achieve supersonic flight.
A U.S. district court ruling on June 17 rejected the claim by plaintiff Excel-Jet that the June 22, 2006, takeoff crash of the experimental single-engine Sport-Jet was caused by wake turbulence.
The June 16 first flight of the fifth Boeing 787 Dreamliner (ZA005) also marked the first time a pair of GE Aircraft Engines' GEnx-1B turbofans powered an airplane to altitude on their own. Captains Mike Bryan and Mike Carriker flew the airplane for three hours and 48 minutes, and reported no anomalies.
Start-up engine manufacturer Price Induction began endurance testing on its 575-pound-thrust Dgen 380 turbofan in late March.
Engine manufacturers are here at EBACE providing a glimpse at where powerplant technology is going for business aviation with several clean-sheet designs or derivatives under development. Honeywell and Rolls-Royce each are working on two programs for business jets, while Pratt & Whitney Canada is involved in one. New players in the field–GE Honda and Snecma–each have a brand-new turbofan to promote, but the latter has yet to find