The FAA issued an emergency AD on Friday to all owners and operators of GE CF34-3A1, -3B and -3B1 turbofans after NTSB investigators found an electrical arc-out defect in the fan disk of the engine that broke apart on a Mesa Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 during a revenue flight on January 25.
The NTSB recovered roughly half of the fan disk, fan blades, parts of the engine cowling and thrust reverser, the engine spinner and pieces of the fan containment case from the GE CF34-3B1 turbofan that broke apart during a January 25 revenue flight of a Mesa Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 from Denver to Phoenix.
Barry Eccleston wants to take Honeywell back into the commercial helicopter business in a big way, while at the same time finding another airframe on which to hang the company’s newly renamed HTF7000 turbofan, which now powers only the Bombardier Challenger 300.
Starting with the new Challenger 300 powerplant, Honeywell will designate all future turbine engines with letters to identify the type of propulsion, such as HTF for a Honeywell turbofan, HTP for a turboprop and HTS for a turboshaft. Previously, the powerplant in the Challenger 300 was designated the AS907 (where AS stood for AlliedSignal–the company that bought Honeywell in late 1999 and adopted the Honeywell name).
One of the technologies that Honeywell says promises to revolutionize aircraft design is something known as “more electric architecture” (MEA). This “breakthrough” technology will replace much of today’s heavy and maintenance-intensive pneumatic and hydraulic fluid and power systems, enabling OEMs to design aircraft with lighter, simpler and more reliable “electric” systems instead of miles of tubing, pumps and valves.
A Mesa Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 shed a fan blade and lost the front section of its left engine cowling during a scheduled flight from Denver to Phoenix last Thursday. Operating for US Airways as America West Express, Mesa Flight 2985 had flown some 60 miles south from Denver International Airport when, at about 5:30 p.m. MST, the airplane’s No. 1 GE CF34-3B1 turbofan ejected the blade.
Safire Aircraft of Opa-Locka, Fla., announced last month that wind-tunnel testing at the University of Washington Aeronautical Laboratory’s subsonic Kirstin Wind Tunnel had validated the design of the very light twinjet.
Pratt & Whitney Canada recently reached the rated takeoff thrust of 1,350 pounds in sustained ground runs of its new PW615 turbofan engine, which will power the Cessna Citation Mustang. Cessna expects to receive the first engine shipsets early this year. Certification of the engine is planned by the end of 2005, and Cessna expects to certify the Mustang in the third quarter of 2006.
A former employee of GE Aircraft Engines claims the company knowingly shipped defective parts built during a 10-year period at its factory in Madisonville, Ky. The charges came to light in a $64.4 million “whisteblower” lawsuit filed by former quality-control engineer Terri Brown, unsealed in late November at the request of the Courier-Journal of Louisville.
French engine manufacturer Snecma has revealed plans to develop a turbofan engine to power business and regional jets. It has started developing a core engine demonstrator called the SM-X that, if a full development program is launched, would yield a powerplant producing between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds of thrust. Ground testing of the core is set for the second half of next year.