The Boeing X-51A WaveRider hypersonic vehicle, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne scramjet engine, achieved aviation history this week by making the longest ever combustion ramjet-powered supersonic flight. During its first jaunt, the craft reached 70,000 feet and an approximate speed of Mach 5 on a 200-second flight over the Pacific Ocean on May 26 at 10 a.m. before it was purposely crashed into the water.
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
The new G250 business jet that IAI builds in partnership with Gulfstream Aerospace is continuing the flight-test program that it started on Dec. 11, 2009. In recent flights, the aircraft has flown up to 40,000 feet at speeds of up to Mach 0.85 as it heads for planned certification before the end of 2011.
Recessions come and go, but the quest to develop ever more efficient engines for the next generation of single-aisle aircraft continues. Given the time it takes to develop new powerplant technologies, which can be measured in decades, engine manufacturers have to be more confident than most of eventual recovery in the airline industry if the millions spent on research and development are not to be wasted.
Aerion is here in Dubai to tap what it believes could be strong market for the supersonic business jet (SSBJ) it intends to have certified in 2015. According to the U.S. company, it still holds letters of intent for about 50 of the aircraft and has had to refund only two deposits since the start of the financial crisis.
Parker Hannifin’s Parker Aerospace division is exhibiting new fuel tank and engine nozzle technologies at this year’s NBAA show, as well as flight control, hydraulic, water and waste-system components that it manufactures for a variety of OEMs. Parker’s fuel-filtration and water-coalescing system eliminates water as it is uploaded in the fuel tanks, uniting the water molecules and removing them.
If paper was aluminum, glass and titanium instead of just paper, two Nevada-based groups developing supersonic business jet designs would have revolutionary aircraft ready to fly. To date, though, the specifications publicized by Aerion in Reno (Booth No.
The design of new airframes always depends heavily on availability of new engine types. The very light jet segment, for example, had to wait until engine manufacturers Pratt & Whitney Canada and Williams International designed smaller engines to power a new class of light jet, and the same is true on the upper end of the market, with new large jets spurring development of ever more powerful and efficient turbofans.
In 2009 the annual Product Support Survey produced by NBAA Convention News’ sister publication Aviation International News Williams International keeps the top slot in turbofans and GE stays last, but otherwise almost all the deck gets shuffled. Among turboprop/turboshaft manufacturers, Honeywell remains on top and Turbomeca falls into last place.