The latest aero engine from the stables of Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is the PurePower PW800 which is about to make its commercial debut
The prevailing highly competitive global market for aeroengines is dominated by Pratt & Whitney, GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce and Safran. Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), with its headquarters in Canada, is a division of the parent company based in the United States (US) which is itself a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Founded in 1928 as a service centre for P&W engines, P&WC started assembling P&W engines in 1952 and in the late 1950s, began working on its own first turbine engine. The company made rapid progress in the engine industry, delivering its 100,000th engine in May 2017. Today, P&WC has around 60,000 in-service engines operated by 12,300 operators in practically every country in the world. It currently manufactures the smaller range of engines that power regional and business jets, while the parent company in the US produces larger engines powering airliners. The latest aero engine from its stables is the PurePower PW800 which is about to make its commercial debut.
P&WC commenced work on the PW800 in July 2008. This is a family of turbofan engines is in the 44–89 kN thrust class meant for regional and business jets. The PW800 engine is optimised for high flying, high speed, long range business jets and, as the noise level in the cabin is a major consideration for business travellers, the engine is designed to generate very low noise. The PW800 engine incorporates the latest generation technologies in every aspect, from advanced to state-of-theart manufacturing processes. Its features include high efficiency, low maintenance, single piece fan and the latest Full Authority Digital Engine Control system with advanced diagnostics as well as lightweight, advanced materials such as titanium and composites to deliver superior performance. P&WC claims that it will have a 99.99 per cent dispatch reliability. It is also expected to have exceptional fuel efficiency and an advanced Technology for Advanced Low Nitrogen Oxide TALON X combustor which is designed to meet with the emission standards laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
From a maintenance perspective, the PW800 engine will set the industry standard, requiring 40 percent less scheduled maintenance and 20 percent fewer inspections than other engines in its class. Among the several unique design elements are innovative features such as steps incorporated into the nacelle cowl doors and large access panels in the engine bypass ducts allowing mechanics to quickly and efficiently access the engine core. In addition, the accessory suite design, it is claimed, would permit most accessories to be changed in less than 30 minutes.
The advanced health management system is claimed to provide deep insight into the engine condition, utilisation and operations to optimise aircraft availability and reliability. The system has full monitoring capability of over 300 engine parameters with analytics that optimise maintenance intervals, provide precise preventative recommendations and ensure the best possible asset utilisation. To accompany the PurePower PW800 engine, P&WC is defining an entirely new Engine Service Plan (ESP) that will deliver one of the most comprehensive coverage packages in the market, being projected as “the industry’s most extensive coverage ever offered to provide a true ‘concierge-level’ of service”.
In 2008, the PW810 variant was selected to power the Cessna Citation Columbus business jet. Unfortunately, the programme for the new business jet was cancelled by Cessna in 2009. This brought the development of the PW810 to a stop, but without halting the PW800 programme. P&WC started testing the core high pressure spool with eight compressors and two turbine stages in December 2009. The engine made its first run in April 2012 and undertook its maiden flight in April 2013.
In 2010, the PW800 engine was selected and the programme launched for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (GAC) with the first engine tested in 2012 and the first flight on P&EC’s flying rest bed in April 2013. In October 2014, P&WC announced that the new Gulfstream G500 and G600, both clean sheet business jets launched by GAC, would be powered by the PW800 engines. G500 would house the PW814GA with 67.36 kN thrust and the G600 would have the PW815GA with 69.75 kN thrust. Both engines from the PW800 family were in the process of certification at that time and, in February 2015, P&WC received certification of the two engines from Transport Canada. The maiden flight of the G500 with a PW814A engine took place in May 2015 and the G600 first flew with a PW815A engine in December 2016. Both engines received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) validation in February 2017 and European Aviation Safety Agency certification in August 2017.
DASSAULT AND P&WC ARE IN THE JOINT-DEFINITION PHASE AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DETAILS OF THE NEW AIRCRAFT ARE AWAITED
UTC Aerospace Systems, P&WC’s parent company, provides the complete control and accessories package, including the fuel metering unit, electronic engine control, fire detection, thermal management components, sensor suite and electrical/ignition system for the PW800 engine. As an aside, for G500/G600, UTC Aerospace Systems also provides critical systems including the electric generation system and emergency power, nose and main landing gear, observer seats, fire and smoke detection, ice detection, air data system and potable water systems.
A unique feature of the G500/G600 is that these aircraft will not be needing P&WC’s Flight Acquisition Storage And Transmission (FAST) engine monitoring system, as the aircraft will be able to transmit its engine sensor data consisting of 300 parameters through its own system. G500 and G600 aircraft will downlink to the FAST ground stations to relay full flight data consisting of more than 300 parameters.
In July this year, NORDAM Group, Inc, the aerospace company that produces the nacelle system to house the PW800 on the G500 and G600, together with its domestic subsidiaries and affiliates, announced that, under US bankruptcy law, it had filed a voluntary petition for protection under Chapter 11. This action came following a protracted contract dispute with P&WC. However, in September this year, an agreement was reached that provides for GAC’s acquisition of NORDAM’s interest in the programme thus paving the way for restarting and terminating all disputes between NORDAM, P&WC and GAC with respect to the programme.
Moving the PW800 closer to commercial use on a business jet, the G500 earned US FAA type certification and its production certificate in July this year while the G600 has begun FAA certification field performance testing and is expected to be certified shortly. Reportedly, the G500 and the G600 are nearing customer deliveries. Gulfstream anticipates the G500 will enter service later this year. The G600 is progressing toward certification in the fourth quarter of 2018 and deliveries in 2019. Both, the G500 and G600 were on display at the Farnborough Air Show in July this year.
The PW800 was also selected earlier this year for the Dassault Falcon 6X after the model it replaced i.e. Falcon 5X, was cancelled due to problems with the Safran Silvercrest engine. Dassault and P&WC are in the joint-definition phase and announcement of the details of the new aircraft are awaited. The engine would be the PW812D, a model from the PW800 family.
The 45 kN thrust engine range has been a hotly contested arena with P&WC as one of the main contestants. The G500 and the G600 are all set to demonstrate the finer points and benefits of the PW800 series of engines in this range to the aviation community. Since 2014 when it was first announced that PW800 engines would power these two new aircraft designs, many claims and projections have been made by P&WC as well as by GAC. The time has now come for those assertions to be validated as, in the near future, both aircraft will begin flying commercially and will get subjected to the grind of high pressure business aviation.