The 2014 Farnborough International Airshow (July 14-20) was a dynamic and captivating edition of the long-running biennial event–packed with high-octane sales activity, novelty and a touch of controversy. As of press time, the show was on track to surpass all the main metrics for the 2012 event, with more than twice the volume of announced sales; more than 100,000 visitors on the five trade days; and approximately 1,500 exhibitors (of which 26 percent were newcomers and 15 percent had expanded their presence).
Eaton has been selected by Rolls-Royce to continue providing its engine build-up for another Trent engine program, the Trent XWB-97. The 97,000 pound-thrust turbofan will power the new Airbus A350-1000 platform.
Pratt & Whitney on Sunday announced that is has managed to reduce fuel burn on the PW1100G-JM for the A320neo family by another 2 percent. Dubbed the PurePower Engine Advantage, the enhancement centers on improved aerodynamics and cooling.
The Engine Alliance, a 50-50 joint venture of GE and Pratt & Whitney, has received EASA approval for two new thrust ratings for the GP7200 turbofan engine, one of the two engines available to power the Airbus A380. The new ratings bring the GP7200 to four thrust rating configurations.
The Bauhaus Luftfahrt aerospace think-tank in May unveiled a concept for a “propulsive fuselage” aircraft, opening a new possibility for fuel burn reduction. It is part of a European Union-funded project in cooperation with a number of research centers, as well as MTU Aero Engines and Airbus Group Innovations (OE13). The latter company is also studying a hybrid-power regional airliner with Rolls-Royce (Hall 4 Stand H3). Meanwhile, it is flying a hybrid-lift quadcopter demonstrator for unmanned military and civil missions, the Quadcruiser.
New engines planned by Rolls-Royce (R-R) reflect recent powerplant trends, including steadily increasing propulsive efficiency obtained with larger-diameter fans, higher bypass ratios and smaller engine cores. The engines could power updated contemporary widebody platforms, with R-R civil large engines president Eric Schulz confirming “very live” discussions with Airbus. “If it decides to re-engine the A330 or A380, we will be here to provide support,” he said during a pre-show briefing.
While calling extending its geared turbofan engine family’s thrust rating by another 2,000 pounds “a big deal,” Pratt & Whitney next-generation product family vice president Bob Saia sees still bigger things in the company’s future, including what he called an Advanced GTF that could rival an open-rotor design in fuel efficiency by the middle of the next decade. For now, though, Saia finds himself “busy as a bee” with the five core programs already under way at the U.S. company.
The technology stakes are high for the GE9X engine that will power Boeing’s new 777X twinjet, but GE Aviation believes its big bet on the weight savings to be delivered by unprecedented use of composites is about to pay off. The U.S. engine maker, which currently holds orders for some 600 of the engines, is leaving nothing to chance and, with more than two years of technology maturation behind it, the company is now stepping up its test program en route to certification in 2018.
As preparations continue for running a full open-rotor engine demonstrator in 2016 under Europe’s Clean Sky research effort, French engine maker Snecma (Hall 4 Stand B12) sees the program’s participants reaching a consensus as whether or not to proceed in the 2017-to-2019 time frame. Clean Sky, which also involves Airbus, Rolls-Royce and French research center Onera, has provided a relatively unexpected discussion platform, thus facilitating a general agreement.
France-based engine developer Price Induction is taking its DGen 380 turbofan on a U.S. tour this month. Exhibited on a mobile test bed, the 575-pound-thrust powerplant and all of its operating equipment have been mounted on a truck platform for the tour. Next stops are Chicago (July 21), Cleveland (July 24) and University Park, Pa. (July 28).
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