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.
As preparations proceed for running a full open-rotor engine demonstrator in 2016 under Europe’s Clean Sky research effort, French engine maker Snecma sees the program’s participants reaching a consensus over whether or not to proceed in the 2017-to-2019 period.
Snecma is about to carry out further tests on a one-fifth scale model of an open rotor engine, in a research and technology effort that epitomizes how laborious developing a new commercial engine concept can be.
Snecma plans soon to start another phase of open-rotor engine testing using a one-fifth scale model, in a research and technology effort that epitomizes how laborious developing a new commercial engine concept can be. The concept, based on contra-rotating high-speed propellers, may not find itself in service before 2025. Nevertheless, trials aimed at cutting noise while retaining the huge efficiency advantage of the open rotor’s architecture are well under way.
The announcement of the new joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney on mid-sized engines was hardly a statement of marriage, but the vows made by the two aero-engine giants on 12 October nevertheless secure their long-term future in the huge market for mid-sized aero-engines up to 2030.
Five aerospace companies have been awarded a total of $125 million in contracts as part of an environmental initiative to spur development of new aircraft technologies. Each company–Boeing, General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce North America–will receive $25 million and is required to match the contract in terms of resources. It is part of the FAA’s Cleen (continuous lower energy, emissions and noise) program.
Turbofan manufacturers are developing cleaner, quieter and more environmentally friendly engines that will meet current and future regulatory requirements. That fact should come as no surprise, since they have been doing this all along as the natural byproduct of efforts to build more fuel-efficient and quieter turbofans for a market that demands nothing less.
Should Airbus and Boeing put upgraded engines on their single-aisle airliners while waiting for the crop of next-gen turbofans with their promise of much better fuel, emissions and noise numbers?
Pratt & Whitney believes open rotors are not the solution to powering future single-aisle aircraft and will offer developed versions of its PW1000G series of geared turbofans for all new and derivative single-aisle aircraft.
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