For the last few years, much of the buzz in the turbine engine world has focused on the new small powerplants from Pratt & Whitney Canada, Williams and the Honda-GE Engines joint venture to propel the emerging class of very light jets. Now the spotlight has shifted somewhat, to advanced technology aimed at developing state-of-the-art engines in the 10,000-pound-thrust class for a new breed of large business jet.
Aviation Partners (Booth No. 876) is expanding its reach in the winglet modification market with new Hi-Mach Super Critical winglets optimized for the high-speed cruise regime. To date, the company’s Blended Winglets have helped operators enjoy lower fuel burn, higher initial climb altitudes and longer range while flying at long-range cruise speeds. The new Hi-Mach winglets have the same effect, but at Mach 0.80 and above.
Gulfstream reported that its Quiet Spike sonic-boom mitigator successfully achieved supersonic flight on October 20. The OEM has been flight-testing the structural integrity of its Quiet Spike since mid-July. Mounted on the nose of a NASA F-15B and flown at Mach 1.2, the Quiet Spike operated as designed. It extended to its maximum length of 24 feet and performed as expected during the 1.5-hour test flight.
Engine manufacturers are gearing up for development programs aimed at bringing new generations of 10,000-pound-thrust turbofans to business aviation. Silvercrest, the first of Snecma’s new family of such engines for midsize to large business jets and 40- to 60-seat regional airliners, makes its world debut here with its new name and newly revealed specs.
The horizontal distance currently required between lighter and heavier aircraft to avoid wake turbulence might have to be doubled for smaller aircraft flying behind the new Airbus A380, according to preliminary findings of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
GE Honda Aero Engines recently completed component and engine core tests to validate several performance enhancements for its in-development 1,700-pound-thrust HF118 turbofan. These refinements have already resulted in a 4-percent improvement in specific fuel consumption and an 8-percent weight reduction.
Supersonic Aerospace International (SAI) of Las Vegas said it continues to work with Lockheed Martin on the Quiet Small Supersonic Transport (QSST), the circa-$80 million, 4,000-nm, 12-passenger, Mach 1.8, no-boom supersonic business jet (SSBJ) it announced at the NBAA Convention last year.
Last month at the Paris Air Show, Reno, Nev.-based Aerion said its market research, conducted over the past nine months by aerospace market research and strategy firm I2, indicates that there is sufficient demand to proceed with development of the company’s proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ).
The French engine manufacturer Snecma plans to develop an all-new engine to power new business and regional jets, the company announced last month. The core engine demonstrator, called the SM-X, is expected to yield a powerplant that produces between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds of thrust, if Snecma goes ahead with the full development program. Ground testing of the core is set for the second half of next year.
Gulfstream Aerospace president Bryan Moss dismissed the company’s long-discussed “Quiet Supersonic Jet” (QSJ) during last month’s EBACE, prompting the aircraft’s removal from AIN’s In the Works chart. Moss pre-empted inquiring minds at a press conference by asking and answering the question himself: “Will Gulfstream build a supersonic business jet?