Inspection result spurs design tweak for P&W engine for A320neo

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Pratt & Whitney says engine certification for the PurePower PW1100G-JM powering the Airbus A320neo family remains on track despite a test mishap discovered earlier this year.

A routine inspection detected an "issue" with a turbine vane that prompted P&W to make a "minor modification", the company says.

Despite a report indicating the engine suffered substantial thermal damage during a test because of the turbine vane issue, P&W says the engine continued the test programme and accomplished all objectives over more than 100h.

The issue arose during a stress test of the PW1100G-JM, which features a fan drive gear system to improve fuel efficiency.

"We intentionally run the engine well beyond design limits to validate the integrity of the design," P&W says. "Extensive testing confirms that the PW1100G-JM engine is on track to meet our performance guarantees."

The engine is scheduled to complete Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 33 certification in the third quarter of 2014, and entry into service on the A320neo is planned four the fourth quarter of 2015.

Meanwhile, Airbus continues to support both engine suppliers for the A320neo family, which also includes the CFM International Leap-1A turbofan.

"We are very confident that Pratt & Whitney will deliver on its commitments," Airbus says.

The vane modification is the second known change on the PW1100G engine, which entered flight testing on the P&W-owned Boeing 747SP flying testbed on 15 May.

P&W also decided to eliminate the variable area fan nozzle after deciding the complex and moving component was not necessary. The original design included the nozzle to improve the flutter margin for the fan blades. Initial tests, however, concluded that the blades could achieve sufficient flutter margin without the addition of the nozzle, P&W says.