When it acquired Czech-based Walter Engines in 2008, General Electric signaled to the industry that it was significantly boosting its commitment to the turboprop community. Renamed GE Aviation Czech, the company moved into a 135,000-sq-ft facility in Prague that includes CNC machining centers, EDM and NDT capability and a new surface-treatment plant.
GE Aviation, which bought Walter Engines last year, has selected Premier Turbines as a designated repair center in North and South America for the M601 and upcoming H80 turboprop engines. The M601 will continue to be overhauled at GE Aviation Czech’s facility in Prague.
Boeing announced this morning that it completed the first engine runs for the 747-8 Freighter as the program inches closer to first flight, expected next month. “We are very pleased with the engines’ performance during this test,” said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 program. “The engines and all the systems performed as expected."
GE Aviation yesterday said that subsidiary GE Aviation Czech will begin certification testing of its new 800-shp H80 turboprop engine by the end of this month, slightly earlier than previous projections. Last summer, GE acquired assets of Walter Engines and renamed the division GE Aviation Czech. Component testing of the H80 has been under way for several months, and GE recently started aeromechanical and performance testing on test engines.
Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has selected CFM International CFM56-5B engines to power 20 Airbus A320 family aircraft it has on order, in a deal worth around $270 million. The aircraft are due for delivery starting in 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.
The GE Honda joint venture last Thursday fired up the first conforming version of its new 2,095-lb-thrust HF120 engine currently slated for certification in 2011. Initial engine tests are typically completed in a sea-level test cell, with high-altitude performance testing conducted onboard an aircraft.
The first GE Honda HF120 engine has successfully started its initial test run at GE Aviation’s altitude test chamber in Evendale, Ohio, the company announced yesterday at the NBAA Convention. “This is a significant milestone and represents the transition from the design-definition phase to the test and certification phase of the HF120,” said GE Honda Aero Engines president Bill Dwyer.
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.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has accused General Electric Aviation of failing to seriously consider viable proposals that would have preserved the GE Aviation facility in Albuquerque, N.M. “Despite a legal obligation to weigh alternatives, it is clear the decision by GE to close this plant was made long ago,” said Ernest “Red” Dow, Local 794 president and directing business representative.