Open season for game-changing name-changing

Rolls-Royce is notorious for keeping its cards close to its chest, but the battle lines are well and truly being drawn in the race to power future narrowbodies.

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As Alan Newby, Rolls-Royce’s chief engineer for advanced projects, explained at the recent Royal Aeronautical Society’s Facing The Future conference, a look at the newspaper cuttings from as far back as December 2005 reveals absurdly optimistic reports of an industry confident of a A320/Boeing 737 replacement by 2012

Yes, that’s wasn’t a typo – they really did think it would be 2012 back then. 

How we laughed ….

Anyway, Newby confirms that Rolls-Royce believes its “holy grail” quest for a low-noise high-efficiency open rotor engine to power these next generation beasts could finally have ended following promising ongoing tests on a 71cm (28in) diameter rig at the UK’s Aircraft Research Association windtunnel in Bedford which is conducting the high-speed performance testing.

One of Newby’s slides revealed the chosen nomenclature of this game-changing engine architecture: the RB 3011. On investigating the provenance of this, FutureProof found that an earlier “working title” of the self same engine had been the RB 2011 – but that was changed because people even internally just kept confusing it with the engine’s entry into service. Doh!   

Read more about the issues surrounding open rotor technology.

 

 

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