Posted on: 19 July 2010 by Ross McSweeny
Pratt & Whitney has the first PW1000G family engine for the Bombardier CSeries “about 90% complete” expects it to go to test in August, according to Bob Saia, VP next generation product family.
P&W has just finished a five month test demonstrating the core and has successfully completed tests involving the release of a fan blade at full power/red line speed. In addition to handling the fan blade-out situation, there was no impact on the fan drive gear system (FDGS) which is crucial to the operation of the geared turbofan. “The engine didn’t seize. Everything stayed intact,” Saia reported. He added that the engine is currently “achieving 16% better fuel burn than today’s CFM56”.
Asked if he is concerned about the pace of sales of the aircraft platforms which use the PW1000G family, Saia responded philosophically, “Well the economic downturn has affected everyone, and no-one likes them. But yes, I’d like to see more but it’s like the film, Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come. However, it’s not such a bad time to be doing product development.”
Part of that development has been the used of bi-metallic fan blades. “We worked out we could make them the same weight as composite blades but we could make the aerodynamics and thickness of the blade thinner,” Saia explained. “For the smaller engine on the MRJ, we’ll be using solid blades, but on the CSeries and MS-21, they will be hollow.”
Saia added that P&W has a technology roadmap for development beyond entry into service. “We want to increase the 3:1 gear ratio difference to around 4:1 or 5:1. Eventually we want to continue to develop the FDGS and hope to get it to match what the open rotor gets,” he remarked, “but it’ll have better noise, and will gain from nacelle and installation under the wing.”
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net