Air Transport World

Gearing up for the future.(ENGINES)(Pratt and Whitney)

With a demonstrator engine in ground tests and its recent selection on two new aircraft programs, Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan is flying high. Last October, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced that the engine would be the sole powerplant on the proposed 70/90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet.

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That was followed a month later by the news that Bombardier likewise had selected it as the exclusive engine for its CSeries family of aircraft in the 110/130-seat class, pending final approvals from both boards. Although neither aircraft has been launched formally, MHI has authority to offer with a go decision expected in the first half. A decision on the CSeries also could come this year. Both airframe manufacturers are targeting a 2013 entry into service.

Commenting on the selections, Senior VP-Sales and Marketing-Large Commercial Engines Robert Keady says, "I've been with Pratt & Whitney for 29 years. I think this is the most exciting year I've seen in terms of upside potential." The wins appear to validate Pratt's strategy of investing heavily in its GTF demonstrator technology program ahead of a product selection and potentially 3-4 years before either Airbus or Boeing is ready to move forward on a next-generation narrowbody. VP-Next Generation Product Family Robert Saia characterizes selections on the CSeries and MRJ as "very important: That was my number one assignment."

In December, Pratt announced that the GTF demonstrator successfully completed its first series of engine runs, reaching full power--30,000 lb. thrust--at its test facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. As of early January the demonstrator, which is using a PW6000 core, had achieved more than 50 hr. …

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