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Geared Turbofan™ Engine Completes Phase II Ground Testing, Cleared for First Flight


BERLIN AIR SHOW 2008 .– Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan demonstrator engine has completed Phase II ground tests and has been cleared for flight testing on Pratt & Whitney’s 747SP flying test bed mid-year. Phase II, which began in April at Pratt & Whitney’s advanced test facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., focused on engine performance and ground acoustics with the Geared Turbofan engine’s flight capable nacelle system. The engine completed 120 hours of testing during Phase II and has logged a total 250 hours since ground testing began in November 2007. Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).

The ground test program has been a complete success and the Geared Turbofan engine has met or exceeded all performance targets,” said Bob Saia, Pratt & Whitney vice president, Next Generation Product Family. “This demonstrator engine has confirmed the laboratory results of our Fan Drive Gear System demonstrating excellent efficiency and operational characteristics. The double-digit reductions in fuel burn, engine noise, environmental emissions and operating costs we’ve targeted make the Geared Turbofan engine the best solution for the next generation of commercial aircraft.”

The Phase II test program included the acoustic measurements of the Geared Turbofan demonstrator engine. The tests measured the ground-level noise characteristics of the engine, which is expected to be 50 percent quieter than today’s engines and 20 dB quieter than International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Stage 4 noise regulations. The testing used an array of 32 individual microphones around the engine test stand and 16 sound pressure transducers inside the engine to get accurate data for noise modeling.

Initial data from the ground acoustic testing show the Geared Turbofan engine is right on target,” Saia said. “The ground test noise data will be compiled with flight test measurements taken later this year to validate the Geared Turbofan engine’s noise signature. The significantly lower noise of the Geared Turbofan engine is a key benefit to airlines and operators, giving them increased flexibility for landing and takeoff at airports with heavy noise regulations.”

The Geared Turbofan engine is expected to set new standards in environmental performance and operating value for the next generation of commercial aircraft. In a Geared Turbofan engine, a state-of-the-art gear system allows the engine’s fan to operate at a different speed than the low-pressure compressor and turbine, resulting in greater fuel efficiency and a slower fan speed for reduced noise. The Geared Turbofan engine builds on more than 20 years of technology development with improvements in every major module.

In 2007, Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan engine was selected as the exclusive power for the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet and the proposed Bombardier CSeries. The Mitsubishi Regional Jet program was officially launched on March 28, 2008, with an order from All Nippon Airways. The CSeries program is expected to launch later this year. Both aircraft are scheduled to enter service in 2013.


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