GE Aviation's Advanced Turboprop engine, a clean-sheet turboprop engine for the business and general aviation (BGA) market, successfully completed its first engine test run at GE Aviation's facility in Prague, Czech Republic, Dec. 22, 2017.
"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. The integration of proven technologies has expedited the design, development and certification cycle of the engine."
The Advanced Turboprop engine, to begin certification testing in 2018, 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.
"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 Advanced Turboprop engine includes more printed components than any production engine in aviation history with 35% of the turboprop's parts built via additive manufacturing. 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% while contributing a 1% improvement in specific fuel consumption (SFC).
The 1,240shp-rated Advanced Turboprop engine introduces 79 new technologies for performance and efficiency to offer higher efficiency, better performance, and greater durability than other engines in its class.
GE Aviation has committed more than $400 million in development costs for the engine since it was announced in November 2015 and 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.