Despite some vacillation by ATR and Bombardier, who are still studying the form their respective 90-seat regional airliners might take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new turboprop engine continues on a “critical path” to an expected launch next year, according to Richard Dussault, company vice president of marketing.
General Electric is ranked as one of the world’s leading aero engine manufacturers, with a $20 billion business powering airliners, fighters and many other types of aircraft around the world, plus servicing and systems provision. Currently just $400 million of that annual business comes from the Business and General Aircraft (BGA) division, but the company has plans to dramatically expand in that sector, and in so doing is taking on the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 family that currently dominates the marketplace.
On May 21, surrounded by crowds of eager attendees at EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition), Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk called for the unveiling of Pilatus Aircraft’s long-awaited new twinjet project, the PC-24. When the black curtain dropped amid clouds of dry-ice-induced smoke to the theme song from the Superman movie, the fuselage mockup of the PC-24 was revealed.
It takes 70,251 rivets and 5,000 man-hours to fabricate a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop, and when each PC-12 rolls into the final assembly process in Halle 9 at Pilatus’s Stans, Switzerland factory, the precise time and date when the airplane will be finished is noted on a label attached to the fuselage. This is no rough estimate, and Pilatus (Chalet A122) means exactly what the label says, according to Pilatus sales and marketing executive Fred Muggli.
As Pratt & Whitney Canada (Chalet (A) 330) saw revenues from its business jet engine segment suffer through one of the industry’s steepest downturns in history, the company’s highly diversified product line has allowed it to, as P&WC president John Saabas put it, “ride the wave” of fortune in other sectors and consolidate its leading position in the small engine business.
France’s Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) made a formal recommendation to EASA that its data recorder requirement cover single-engine commercial aircraft the size of the Caravan. EASA has yet to respond. The request stems from the Sept. 5, 2010 crash of a Cessna 208 Caravan, the cause of which was determined to be creep rupture of a number of turbine blades on its Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6. The turboprop quit 11 minutes after takeoff from Pointe-à-Pitre Airport (TFFR) on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
For the first time since the end of 2006, quarterly deliveries of business jets, turboprops and piston-powered aircraft all finished in the positive, according to first-quarter 2013 statistics released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
For the first time since the end of 2006, quarterly deliveries of business jets, turboprops and piston-powered aircraft finished in the positive, according to first-quarter 2013 statistics released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “We are pleased to see a shift to the positive for GA airplanes, which extends across all airplane segments,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce.
During an EBACE interview, Daher-Socata (Booth 1643) airplane division senior v-p Nicolas Chabbert told AIN that none of the company’s design engineers is currently working on its new twin project (NTX) that it has been considering since 2008. “The NTX project is in standby mode,” he said. At least, the Tarbes, France-based manufacturer of the single-engine TBM 850 turboprop knows where its main competitors stand. Pilatus has just unveiled a light twinjet, the PC-24, and Beechcraft now offers a turboprop-only lineup.
Daher-Socata’s NTX project, a new twin the company has been considering since 2008, “is in standby mode,” airplane division senior v-p Nicolas Chabbert told AIN this week at EBACE.
AIN understands that Daher-Socata has considered both a twin turboprop and a twinjet under the NTX project banner. Without referring specifically to one option or the other, Chabbert said Daher-Socata is not excluding any possibility. However, the company has already ruled out resurrecting the Grob SPn program after some in-depth evaluations, including flight tests of the SPn prototype.