GE Aviation and NASA are to ground test five sets of new subscale blades for open-rotor engines at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The tests will focus on acoustics and efficiency of a two-stage counter-rotating fan. The two partners have high expectations that new analysis tools will add to their understanding of the fan’s aerodynamics.
Price Induction, a French startup company based in Anglet in the southwest of the country, is here exhibiting two engine mockups (Hall 3 Stand A25). The first is its new 570-pound-thrust DGEN 380 turbofan engine and the other is its Taor contrafan concept. Company executives claim to have raised enough funds to complete the DGEN certification program.
Aerion is proceeding with research in the development of its supersonic business jet while it continues discussions with potential manufacturing partners that would lead to a joint Aerion-OEM design study. Aerion’s hope is that this design study, essentially the nine- to 12-month proof-of-concept phase of the program, would result in a decision by the partners to proceed with full-scale development and production of the Aerion SSBJ.
The in-development geared turbofan (GTF) has been attracting most of the headlines at engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney lately, and it does indeed promise to make a large leap in powerplant efficiency and environmental friendliness when it enters airline service in 2013.
It seems unlikely that new engine architectures such as the geared turbofan or the open rotor will make it to business aviation in the near or even mid term. According to engine manufacturers, these concepts are not suited to the needs of business aircraft, which require a lot of thrust during almost the entire flight.
Turbofan engine makers active in business aviation– such as General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls-Royce and Snecma– all have their hands full with research-and-development (R&D) programs, many of which are driven by aircraft programs. However, almost all of the engine companies also run demonstration programs that will not necessarily morph into full engine development.
Aerion, the U.S. company that is developing a supersonic business jet (SSBJ), has welcomed an FAA policy shift which it believes “seems to crack open the door for supersonic cruise speeds” if, in the words of FAA policy guidance released last month, “the noise impacts of supersonic flight are shown to be acceptable.”
Aerion executives still hope they will secure an OEM partner by the end of the year to build the company’s supersonic business jet, but vice chairman Brian Barents told NBAA Convention News that the company won’t “fall off a cliff” if the deadline passes without an announcement.
Brad Mottier, general manager of GE Aviation’s newly formed business and general aviation division (B&GA), outlined the genesis, philosophy and goals of the unit, saying its mission is to integrate recent acquisitions Smiths Aerospace and Walter Engines into the bizav mix of GE’s product lines.
The FAA and Pratt & Whitney Canada believe they have found the cause of three high-altitude double engine flameouts on Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5-powered Beechjets between mid-2004 and mid-2006.