More than two years after Boeing acknowledged problems with the 747-8’s flight management computer (FMC), the airplane carrying a package of improvements largely centered on the Honeywell FMC took to the air last week. Taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, at 1:30 p.m. local time on May 20, the 747-8 Intercontinental flew for about four hours with the newly upgraded FMC and a performance improvement package (PIP) for its General Electric GEnx-2B turbofans.
GKN Aerospace’s acquisition of Volvo Aero is starting to bear fruit, giving the UK-based aerostructures group a significant boost in this growing market segment. This year, the addition of the Sweden-based engine systems manufacturer is expected to boost total revenues from GKN’s aerospace division by approximately $700 million, to $3.5 billion.
GE Honda Aero Engines has announced that its 2,095-pound-thrust HF120 turbofan intended initially for the HondaJet is nearing completion of certification tests and is on track for delivery of the first entry into service engines before the end of 2013. “We now have a line-of-sight for certification and we are gaining experience on the fleet,” said Terry Sharp, GE Honda Aero president. “We are gearing up for the production environment, which should come by the end of the year.”
GE Honda Aero Engines has announced that its 2,095-pound-thrust HF120 turbofan intended initially for the HondaJet is nearing completion of certification tests and is on track for delivery of the first entry into service engines before year-end. “We now have a line-of-sight for certification and we are gaining experience on the fleet,” said GE Honda Aero president Terry Sharp.
Among the few economic forces behind the rather tepid recovery of the market segment covering small and medium-sized business jets, perhaps the most influential rests with the world’s financiers. While the large business jet segment remains buoyant due to its comparative immunity from the vagaries of liquidity availability, for the rest of the market a lack of attractive financing terms remains a serious problem, according Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) president John Saabas.
Snecma appears to be giving itself more time before beginning flight-testing of its first business jet engine: the Silvercrest. But the apparent delay in what had been projected at last year’s EBACE show as a first flight in the first half of 2013 will likely have little bearing on the certification path for the new turbofan’s first applications.
On May 2, CFM International froze the design for the Leap-1B engine that is to power Boeing’s 737Max narrowbody and, eventually, the Boeing Business Jets derived from the airliner. The engine manufacturer, which is a joint venture between Snecma and GE, has said it on track to achieve the first full engine test in mid-2014, followed by initial flight testing in 2015 and powerplant certification in 2016. The 737Max is due to enter service in 2017.
GE Aviation began running its third and final eCore demonstrator last month in preparation for application on the Passport business jet engine and the new CFM Leap family, as well as a potential basis for the still orphaned NG34 turbofan development.
Despite some vacillation on the part of airframe OEMs still studying the form their respective 90-seat turboprop might finally take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s engine offering continues on what company vice president of marketing Richard Dussault called a critical path leading to expected launch next year.