Air Transport World

G.E.'s CT7 - performance improving? (CT7 turboprop engine development)

G.E.'s CT7--performance improving

After two trouble-plagued years in revenue service the CT7 turboprop is finally approaching the level of reliability that manufacturer General Electric originally expected, according to company officials. At the same time G.E.'s CT7 turboprop program is acquiring a lead in endurance testing with which the company hopes to head off any more operating surprises.

During initial development of the CT7 turboprop, G.E. hoped that the track record of the base engine, the T700 military turboshaft, would translate into nearly flawless performance on the Saab SF-340.

But pressure on G.E. from Saab and its former partner Fairchild to quickly certificate and produce the new powerplant prompted G.E. to focus more on the immediate than the long term. The company performed only minimal endurance testing prior to 1986. As a result, the CT7-5 experienced several now-familiar setbacks.

The first problem forced authorities to ground the SF-340 in early September 1984, less than three months into its career. Power losses experienced by launch customers Crossair and Comair were traced to the second-stage compressor blisk rubbing against the engine casing. …

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