What turned out to be a big week for Boeing with the formal launch of its new 777X widebody also promises to be a big week for the engine that will power it, the GE9X. Dubai Airshow visitors can get a sneak preview of the 102,000-pound thrust turbofan through a new 3-D representation of the equipment at the GE Aviation exhibit (Chalet A9).
Internal combustion engine
Development is progressing on schedule for GE’s Passport 20 engine, which is scheduled for certification in 2015 and is expected to enter service in 2016 on Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000 ultra-long-range twinjets.
While GE has earned renown for its military and commercial engines, until recently its experience in the business aviation arena had been limited to the CF34, which has powered Bombardier’s large-cabin Challengers for the past 30 years (as well as the airframer’s CRJs and Embraer’s ERJ regional jets).
Rolls-Royce is preparing technologies for the next generation of business jet turbofans and the design engineers’ motto seems to be “smaller, faster, leaner.” Karsten Mühlenfeld, Rolls-Royce executive v-p of engineering and technology for civil small and medium engines, provided AIN with details on future designs that will feature swifter development cycles, near-perfect reliability and reduced acquisition costs.
A day after watching Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G engines lifting Bombardier’s new CSeries airliner for its long-awaited first flight on September 16, Pratt & Whitney Canada president John Saabas told AIN that the new turbofan’s PurePower technology PW800 cousin will soon be delivering the same step change in operating efficiency and low noise to the business aviation sector.
Electroair’s electronic ignition system is now a factory option for Aviat Aircraft’s Husky utility piston single-engine airplane. Electroair added the Husky to its Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approved model list just before EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, according to Michael Kobylik, president of the Howell, Mich.-based company. Electroair is working with Aviat on certification of the electronic ignition system for six-cylinder Lycomings in the Pitts Special and in Aviat’s Eagle biplane kit.
Safran’s SMA unit announced a new and larger jet-A fuel-powered piston engine at AirVenture on Tuesday. The turbocharged SR460 six-cylinder engine will have applications in the 330 to 400 horsepower range, will be available in 2015 and will have a target 2,400-hour time between overhaul (TBO) interval.
Engineered Propulsion Systems (EPS) is preparing two recently purchased Cirrus SR22s as flying testbeds for its clean-sheet design Vision 350 diesel aero engine. One of the airplanes is located at EPS’s New Richmond, Wis. headquarters, while the other is being prepared for flight testing in a hangar at the Mojave airport in California. The engine is on display outside the Innovation Pavilion at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, mounted to an SR22 firewall.
On July 28, the day before the opening of this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show, EAA chairman Jack Pelton and Mac McClellan, director of publications, flew a specially refurbished Cessna Skyhawk from Fond du Lac, Wis., to Oshkosh. The Skyhawk has been turned into a “RedHawk Training Aircraft” in a new venture by simulator manufacturer Redbird Simulations and its flight training division Redbird Skyport. AirVenture visitors can see the RedHawk at the exhibit near the main gate.
Despite some vacillation by ATR and Bombardier, who are still studying the form their respective 90-seat regional airliners might take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new turboprop engine continues on a “critical path” to an expected launch next year, according to Richard Dussault, company vice president of marketing.
Boeing’s confirmation in March that GE Aviation will provide the new GE9X engine to power its proposed 777X development marked the culmination of three years of preliminary work between the engine maker and the airframer in their quest to be in a position to promise a 10 percent reduction in fuel burn compared with the GE90-115B engines on the existing 777-300ER. Also promised is a 5 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption over rival widebody engines by 2020.