Testing completed on the P&W geared turbofan

  • 13-Mar-2009 05:03 EDT
P&W PurePower PW1000G Geared Turbofan demo engine final assembly.jpg
Shown during final assembly, Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1000G demonstrator engine later was subjected to 406 hours of testing, including 120 hours in flight. P&W is currently analyzing the test data for engine design optimization.

­­­­­Pratt & Whitney has finished ground and flight testing of the PurePower PW1000G demonstrator engine, which successfully completed all test objectives. The final phase of testing was done jointly with Airbus on an A340-600 flight-test aircraft and included 27 flights and more than 75 hours of flight testing. The engine features P&W’s geared turbofan technology, which it expects will give “double-digit reductions” in fuel burn, engine noise, environmental emission­s, and operating costs­. The geared turbofan technology is a system that uses a reduction gearbox to disconnect the fan from the turbine so that each component can turn at its optimal speed.

Figures actually quoted by P&W include a 15% reduction in fuel burn, which it says increases to 20-25% when installed on next-generation aircraft; 55% reduction in NOx; and 50% reduction in noise. It also estimates that the overall operating costs will equate to more than $1.5 million in savings per aircraft per year.

The Airbus flight testing follows P&W’s own ground and flight test program, during which the engine went through about 300 hours of ground testing and 12 flights on the company’s Boeing 747SP test bed. In all, the demonstrator engine completed 406 hours of testing including a total of 120 hours in flight.

“One-of-a-kind demonstrator engines like this are typically designed to test for approximately 100 hours,” said Bob Saia, Vice President, Next Generation Product Family, P&W. “It is unprecedented to complete this amount of testing on a technology demonstrator engine, including engine-test evaluations normally conducted for a production engine certification.”

Assessed were in-flight performance, engine handling, in-flight acoustics, and aircraft installation of the demonstrator engine.

“The engine performed exceptionally throughout the program, demonstrating both performance and reliability under extremely challenging tests such as high-altitude aircraft flight maneuvers exceeding two g’s,” said Saia. “Thousands of data points taken during this test program will enable our engineers to optimize the engine as we enter detailed design midyear.”

The engine has already been chosen by Mitsubishi for its Regional Jet and Bombardier for its CSeries, both of which are scheduled to enter service in 2013.­­­­
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