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GE Aviation makes headlines with supersonic news

May 24, 2017
Supersonic flight, turboprops and 3-D printing dominated headlines this week for GE Aviation during the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) held in Geneva, Switzerland.
Going supersonic

Brad Mottier, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation Business and General Aviation and Integrated Systems, kicked off EBACE on Sunday by announcing a partnership with Aerion Corporation to evaluate the final configuration for three engines that will power their AS2 supersonic jet.

Billionaire's Dream of Supersonic Luxury Jet Gets Assist From GE - Bloomberg

Billionaire Robert Bass’s dream of building a private supersonic jet is poised to get a boost from one of the world’s top engine makers: General Electric Co.

Aerion Corp. is in talks with GE to power what could be the first nonmilitary plane to fly faster than the speed of sound since Concorde flights were halted in 2003, according to a statement Monday by the Bass-backed aircraft start-up.

The discussions represent a step toward resolving a major obstacle to Aerion’s plan for a jet that could shave three hours off trans-Atlantic trips -- and shorten flights across the Pacific by six. Aerion, which already has a committed buyer for its AS2 plane, has been working with the engine manufacturers to meet noise restrictions and fly economically at speeds both slower and faster than the sound barrier.

Investments in turboprops

Mottier focused much of his press conference on GE’s ongoing investment in turboprops. The GE Aviation Czech facility completed its 300th H Series engine earlier in May and continues to add new applications.

GE Aviation's H Engines Reach New Heights - Aviation International News

The H series, derived from the former Czech Walter M601 engine family acquired in 2008, now has 16 applications and is certified in 12 countries.

… The Praga Alfa flew for the first time in March and Orbis Avia anticipates EASA certification by the end of this year. The company sees a market for more than 100 of its utility aircraft by 2022.

Much of the buzz surrounding the H Series engine focuses on its advancement with an Electronic Engine Propeller Control Unit (EEPC). Mottier announced GE’s BGA business was closing in on European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for EEPC on its second application on the Thrush 510G.

GE: Single-Lever E-Control for Small Turboprops - Aviation Week

GE Aviation is pioneering electronic single-lever engine control for small turboprop aircraft, making flying easier and safer than ever before.

Those who have not flown a single-lever turboprop don’t understand the simplification and reduced plot workload that it brings, says Brad Mottier, VP and general manager of GE Aviation’s business and general aviation and integrated systems operation. The single lever control manages the propeller and fuel control, with limit protection for overspeed, overtemp and overtorque. “The pilot can push the throttle forward and not have to look at the gauges” during critical phases of flight such as takeoff, or a go-around, he notes.
Update on the Advanced Turboprop

Mottier opened his press conference sharing the latest advancements on GE’s Advanced Turboprop (ATP), showing various completed parts and video of demonstrating a balance test that took place at GE Aviation Czech in Prague. Mottier said the ATP engine, which will power the brand new Cessna Denali, is on track for its first run by the end of the year.

GE’s ‘Printed Turboprop’ will run this year – AviationWeek

The world’s most “printed engine,” GE’s new Advanced Turboprop in which additive manufacturing replaces 855 normally made parts with just 12 “printed” components, is on track to run for the first time this year. It will power Cessna’s new Denali aircraft.

“Everybody asks me what is the name of the new Advanced Turboprop,” says Brad Mottier, VP and general manager of GE Aviation’s business and general aviation and integrated systems operation. “And I tell them it’s ‘The Advanced Turboprop.’ ”

Interest in the new engine is running high, and GE is in talks with other civil and military airframe manufacturers for the ATP, which GE has designed to offer up to 20% better fuel burn and 10% more power than an equivalent-sized 800 shp to 1,650 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6.

It is, says Mottier, the first clean-sheet design turboprop in its class in more than 30 years – since Honeywell certified the TPE331 in 1965. GE Aviation has committed more than $400 million in development costs, as well as investing more than $1 billion on developing its additive manufacturing capabilities.

Disrupting with additive

ATP coverage continues to be dominated with headlines surrounding GE’s role as an industry disruptor using additive technology and design. Additive components make up 35% of the ATP engine.

How 3D Printing Is Set To Disrupt The Aviation Industry – Ozy

More power, less fuel and cheaper — sounds too good to be true, right? Thank 3D printing, the most disruptive technology to affect manufacturing in recent decades. The possibilities of 3D printing have emboldened GE’s engineers to create all-new engine designs that are ripping up the rulebook. Today, the technology has given us a high-performance, low-cost propeller plane engine. Tomorrow, it could clean up large-scale commercial aviation dramatically.

Whatever the next 20 years bring, the reality is that the aviation industry must meet massive demand for new aircraft while keeping costs down for customers. Any new engine design offering that is going to be popular. It may be that 3D printing will play a part in this brave new world — and while GE’s new engine might be starting small, it’s thinking big.


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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.