Performance Extraordinaire

The Pratt & Whitney PW1000G is a high-bypass geared turbofan engine family, currently selected as the exclusive engine for the Bombardier CSeries; Mitsubishi Regional Jet and Embraer’s next-generation E-Jets and as an option on the Irkut MC-21 and Airbus A320neo.

Issue: 1 / 2016By R. ChandrakanthPhoto(s): By Pratt & Whitney
PW1000G Engine Cross Section

On January 20 this year, the first Airbus A320 neo (new engine option) was delivered to Lufthansa, marking a major step in aviation history. The A320neo is said to be the world’s bestselling and most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft. Equipped with all new technology Pratt & Whitney PurePower Geared Turbofan engines, the A320neo sets a new, even higher standard in aircraft efficiency, reducing emissions and noise as well as burning 15 per cent less fuel than current generation aircraft from day one and 20 per cent by 2020.

“We are happy that today we are the first airline worldwide to receive the Airbus A320neo. Featuring the leading technology of Airbus and Pratt & Whitney, the A320neo is by far the most efficient and most silent aircraft on short- and medium-haul routes. With lower fuel consumption and consequently lower CO2 emissions, the A320neo has a clearly improved environmental performance. Furthermore, the new jet engine technology makes the aircraft considerably quieter. As a result, we have ordered a total of 116 aircraft of this type for the airlines of the Lufthansa Group”, states Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Pratt & Whitney congratulated Lufthansa as the launch customer for the A320neo aircraft powered by PW1100G-JM engines. Robert Leduc, Pratt & Whitney President, said: “Airbus and Lufthansa have been important customers for Pratt & Whitney for many years. With the A320neo’s unprecedented reductions in fuel burn, emissions and noise, I am confident that these business relationships will have continued success for many years to come.”

On Regionals and Single-Aisle Aircraft

The Pratt & Whitney PW1000G is a high-bypass geared turbofan engine family, currently selected as the exclusive engine for the Bombardier CSeries; Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) and Embraer’s next-generation E-Jets and as an option on the Irkut MC-21 and Airbus A320neo. The project was previously known as the geared turbofan (GTF) and originally the advanced technology fan integrator (ATFI). The engine is expected to deliver reductions in fuel use and ground noise when used in next-generation aircraft.

Pratt & Whitney first attempted to build a geared turbofan starting around 1998, with the PW8000. This essentially was an upgrade of the existing PW6000 that replaced the fan section with a gearing system and new single-stage fan. After several years of development the PW8000 essentially disappeared. Soon afterwards the ATFI project appeared, using a PW308 core but with a new gearbox and a single-stage fan. It had its first run on March 17, 2001. This led to the GTF programme, which was based around a newly designed core jointly developed with MTU Aero Engines of Germany. The German company provides the high-speed low-pressure turbine and various stages of the high-pressure compressor.

Christened ‘PurePower’

In addition to the geared turbofan, the initial designs included a variable-area fan nozzle (VAFN), which allows improvements in propulsive efficiency across a range of the flight envelope. However, the VAFN has since been dropped from production designs due to high system weight.

In July 2008, the GTF was renamed PW1000G, the first in a new line of ‘PurePower’ engines. Pratt & Whitney claims the PW1000G is 10 per cent to 15 per cent more fuel-efficient than current engines used on regional jets and single-aisle jets as well as being up to 75 per cent quieter.

The engine was tested on the Pratt & Whitney Boeing 747SP and the second phase of flight testing for the PW1000G was conducted on an Airbus A340-600. The test-bed aircraft, with the engine in the number two pylon position, flew for the first time in Toulouse on October 14, 2008. The PW1100G was first tested on the 747SP in 2013. Testing of the PW1524G model began in October 2010. The PW1500G engine successfully achieved Transport Canada type certification on February 20, 2013. The PW1100G engine successfully achieved the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification on December 19, 2014. The first flight test on one of its intended production airframes, the Bombardier CS100, was on September 16, 2013. The first flight of the Airbus A320neo followed on September 25, 2014. The fourth variant of the engine, the PW1900G, first flew on November 3, 2015, from Mirabel in Canada fitted to the Boeing 747SP test aircraft. And the first delivery to a commercial operator occurred on January 20, 2016, to Lufthansa, instead of Qatar Airways due to an issue of uneven cooling in the engine.

Game-changing benefits

With 20 years of research and development, component rig testing on all major modules, extensive ground and flight testing of a full-scale demonstrator engine complete and extensive ground and flight testing, the PurePower PW1000G engine with geared turbofan technology delivers game-changing reductions in:

  • Fuel burn
  • Environmental emissions
  • Engine noise
  • Operating costs

In the PurePower PW1000G engine family, a state-of-the-art gear system separates the engine fan from the low pressure compressor and turbine, allowing each of the modules to operate at their optimum speeds. This enables the fan to rotate slower and while the low pressure compressor and turbine operate at a high speed, increasing engine efficiency and delivering significantly lower fuel consumption, emissions and noise. This increased efficiency also translates to fewer engine stages and parts for lower weight and reduced maintenance costs.

The PurePower PW1000G engine’s fan-drive gear system is just one component of this next-generation engine. The PurePower PW1000G engine also incorporates advances in aerodynamics, lightweight materials and other major technology improvements in the high-pressure spool, low-pressure turbine, combustor, controls, engine health monitoring and more.

Shaping future of aviation

Pratt & Whitney has been actively testing all key components of the PurePower PW1000G engine family, with 16 technology rigs running around the world. In 2008, Pratt & Whitney’s full-scale demonstrator engine completed its rigorous 400-hour ground and flight test programme with test results that indicated the engine delivers the performance and efficiency targets of this revolutionary technology. Hundreds of hours of ground testing of the first PW1500G engines for the Bombardier CSeries and PW1200G engines for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet further validate the engine family’s many benefits.

Earns laurels

Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1000G engine has been recognised by Popular Science magazine with a 2009 “Best of What’s New Award.” In addition to the Popular Science award, Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower engine family also received the 2009 Aviation Week Laureate Award for outstanding achievement in Aeronautics and Propulsion and the 2008 Technology Breakthrough Award from the China Aviation Association and AVIC Science and Technology department.

PurePower engine was cited as an Aviation Climate solution by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) at the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. The GTF’s engine technology reduces commercial aircraft fuel and carbon dioxide emissions, reduces regulated emissions by over 50 per cent and will reduce CO2 emissions at a level equivalent to planting nearly one million trees or removing three million cars off the road – every year. The engine reduces the aircraft noise footprint by more than 75 per cent. The GTF is included as part of the Aviation Climate Solutions, a collection of 100 examples of collaboration within the aviation industry to cut carbon dioxide emissions and help reduce its impact on climate change.

“Aviation plays a vital role in the world economy, providing connectivity for people and business,” said Michael Gill, Executive Director, ATAG. “Our industry has also taken a lead in climate action, putting in place a comprehensive framework and goals to reduce emissions from air transport. The Aviation Climate Solutions are a set of case studies showing how different parts of the industry all over the world, including Pratt & Whitney are working together to reduce our climate impact.”