Paul Theofan, a veteran of more than 20 years at Unison Industries, has been named president and managing executive of General Electric subsidiary GE Aviation Czech. This past June, GE acquired assets of powerplant manufacturer Walter Engines in hopes of increasing its involvement in the small turboprop segment. The company’s Czech division employs about 400 workers in a new facility near Prague.
Walter Aircraft Engines
Brad Mottier, general manager of GE Aviation’s newly formed business and general aviation division (B&GA), outlined the genesis, philosophy and goals of the unit, saying its mission is to integrate recent acquisitions Smiths Aerospace and Walter Engines into the bizav mix of GE’s product lines.
I recently had the chance to fly one of the King Air C90s re-engined with two Walter M601E-11s, which are 751-shp engines flat rated to 550 shp for this installation. The airplane we were flying was N800RP, a 1974 King Air C90, S/N LJ-628. Dan Sigl, owner of Seagull Aviation, which is working on a conversion package for King Air 90s and 100s, agreed to bring the aircraft to my home base, Solberg Airport in New Jersey.
Almost a year after first unveiling the deal, GE Aviation last month announced the completion of its acquisition of Prague, Czech Republic-based turboprop engine maker Walter Engines. The new GE division will operate as Walter Aircraft Engines.
The significance of General Electric’s purchase of Walter Aircraft Engines last year has only recently become evident. The American company appears poised to seriously challenge the primacy of Pratt & Whitney Canada as the principal source of turboprop engines for executive aircraft, light transport twins and more.
For many years, the one market segment that General Electric’s turbine engine-manufacturing business didn’t serve was aircraft that use smaller turboprop engines. But that is changing; GE announced yesterday that it is buying Czech engine manufacturer Walter Engines. Based in Prague, Walter has manufactured more than 37,000 aircraft engines since 1923.
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