Pratt & Whitney’s PW4000 Advantage70 engine this week completed its first flight aboard an Air Comet A330-200 in Toulouse, France, the company announced yesterday. The first Advantage70 flight marks the beginning of a flight-test program scheduled to continue through early next month.
Pratt & Whitney PW4000
The first Air France Airbus A380 powered with Engine Alliance GP7200 engines successfully completed a four-hour inaugural test flight from Airbus’s Toulouse, France manufacturing site last Thursday, the company announced today. On Monday, the aircraft flew to Airbus’s Hamburg, Germany facilities for paint and interior completions work. Airbus has scheduled the A380 for delivery to Air France in October.
The first GP7200-powered Airbus A380 will enter service with Emirates on August 1 on a flight from Dubai to New York City. The milestone will mark the first engine Alliance-powered aircraft to enter service since General Electric and Pratt & Whitney formed a partnership in 1996 to design and manufacture the engine for the A380. The powerplant is derived from the GE90 and the PW4000.
Clouds of dry ice swirled around onlookers as Pratt & Whitney revealed a full-scale model of its new “PurePower” PW1000G geared turbofan (GTF) on its stand yesterday. The engine is performing “outstandingly well” in flight tests now under way, said Pratt & Whitney president Steve Finger, who added, “This is the first of a new generation of ultra high bypass engines.”
Pratt & Whitney passes one of the most important milestones in its long history as the much-heralded Geared Turbofan engine takes to the skies this month. Installed and nearly ready to fly aboard the company’s Boeing 747 testbed in the days leading to the start of this week’s Farnborough airshow, the GTF demonstrator underwent 250 hours of ground testing since engineers first ran the engine in November 2007.
Pratt & Whitney is now having to consider what it can contribute to a new powerplant to be developed by its Pratt & Whitney Canada subsidiary for the proposed Bombardier C Series of small jetliners. It also is seeking new launch customers for its PW6000 engine on the Airbus A318 and is continuing to invest in new-technology developments for possible future applications, according to P&W president Louis Chenevert.
Pratt & Whitney has signed the biggest airline spare parts management deal in its history, in a $1.6 billion contract with United Airlines. More than 60 percent of United’s engines now come under P&W care.
Pratt & Whitney has announced upgrades to both its venerable JT8D engine and the PW4000 high bypass ratio turbofan. Improvements to the JT8D are aimed at enabling the engine to meet the latest ICAO Chapter 4 noise rules, which took effect in January. A noise-reducing kit will, says the company, provide a solution to operators of MD-80s wishing to avoid landing charges levied because of excessive noise.
Pratt & Whitney’s efforts to ensure it takes pole position in the next generation of medium-sized powerplants are materializing, with several major technology programs under way aimed at ensuring its geared turbofan (GTF) demonstrator beats the competition.
Since its rejection from the Boeing 787 engine contest in April 2004 Pratt & Whitney has had to face up to a harsh new reality–that for the foreseeable future the U.S.’s most venerable engine manufacturer is effectively out of the huge market for the new medium twins from Airbus and Boeing–the A350 and 787.