RAA2010: 5,000th CF34 delivered by GE to commercial market

The 5,000th engine to the commercial aviation market from GE Aviation’s CF34 family has been delivered by the OEM.

“The fleet of CF34s has surpassed 50 million flight hours on 2,300 aircraft placed in 63 countries,” reported Chuck Nugent, general manager of the CF34 programme at GE Aviation.

Nugent added that GE expects to deliver around 300 CF34 engines this year, below the annual average for the years 2003-09 of around 400. Looking further ahead, the company forecasts a need for 6,300 engines in the 31-120 seat market over the next 20 years.

Nugent noted that some of the older members of the fleet, CF34-3s on Bombardier CRJ200s, are now seeing new operational lives as the aircraft are redeployed in places like Russia and Africa. GE has made the most of its OnPoint service solution to help facilitate the transitions of aircraaft and engines to the new operators.

Almost ready to join the certified fleet is the CF34-10A powering COMAC’s ARJ21 in China. “Testng has gone very well,” remarked Nugent, “and we are confident that the programme will be a success.”

GE continues to spend a 8%-9% of its annual revenue on technology development, which means somehwere in the region of $2 billion this year, according to Nugent. The next-generation engine in the family, designated NG34 at present, has a goal set for it to reduce fuel consumption by 15% compared with the CF34-10E. It also aims to maintain the reliability benchmark for high cycle operations, use simple, robust designs and a target entry into service date of 2015.

So far on the NG34, 18 architectures have been studied including counter-rotating unducted fans. However, the company believes the best solution to feature a two-stage high pressure turbine.

Nugent noted that GE is looking seriously at powering a new generation of turboprops as it sees the need for 2,200 such aircraft covering the 19-120 seat market in the next 20 years. “We have a programme called the CPX38. This is a derivative of the GE38, which is a large helicopter engine. We think it could provide a very good engine for an 80-90 seat turboprop,” he explained. “And remember, GE now owns Dowty propellers, so all together it could support an entry into service of 2015.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net

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