GE Aviation‘s Advanced Turboprop engine successfully completed its first engine test run at GE Aviation’s facility in Prague, Czech Republic, Dec. 22, 2017.
According to GE Aviation officials, it is the first clean-sheet turboprop engine to hit the business and general aviation (BGA) market in more than 30 years.
“Running the Advanced Turboprop engine this year was our biggest and most important goal,” said Brad Mottier, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation’s BGA and Integrated Systems organization. “This milestone comes as a result of two years of tremendous effort by a worldwide team. We’re developing a real catalyst for the BGA market and we’re executing on plan. The integration of proven technologies has expedited the design, development and certification cycle of the engine.”
The Advanced Turboprop engine will begin certification testing in 2018. The engine will power Textron Aviation’s new Cessna Denali, which is expected to fly in late 2018. By the time the Denali enters into service, the engine will have completed more than 2,000 hours of testing, according to GE Aviation officials.
“The continued testing will generate valuable data from the engine and validate the aerodynamics, mechanics, and aerothermal systems,” said Paul Corkery, general manager for GE Aviation Turboprops. “With the engine run and most of the individual component testing completed, early indications show that we will meet or exceed all the performance numbers we have quoted for the engine.”
The new 1,240 SHP-rated Advanced Turboprop engine is aimed at business and general aviation aircraft in the 1,000-1,600 SHP range.
It features a 16:1 overall pressure ratio, enabling the engine to achieve as much as 20% lower fuel burn and 10% higher cruise power, according to company officials.
At 4,000 hours, it offers 33% more time between overhaul than its leading competitor, officials add.
The Advanced Turboprop engine boasts two stages of variable stator vanes and cooled high-pressure turbine blades, technologies developed by GE in its large commercial engines and flown more than 1.3 billion flight hours.
The new engine includes more printed components than any production engine in aviation history with 35% of the parts built via additive manufacturing, company officials report.
A total of 855 conventionally manufactured parts has been reduced to 12 additive parts, including sumps, bearing housings, frames, exhaust case, combustor liner, heat exchangers and stationary flow path components. Additive components reduce the engine’s weight by 5%, officials note.
Since it was introduced at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in November 2015, GE Aviation has committed more than $400 million in development costs for the engine.
GE also finalized an agreement with the Czech government to build its new turboprop headquarters for development, test, and engine production in the Czech Republic. When complete and at full production rate, this new facility is expected to have 500 additional employees. GE Aviation Czech has already added around 180 jobs, with another 80 expected in 2018.