P&WC starts testing compressor for 90-seater turboprop engine

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Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has started testing a key section of the core of an all-new turboprop engine being developed to power future 90-seat airliners.

The new series of testing on the compressor of the new engine will focus on validating component efficiency and the still-undisclosed overall pressure ratio, the Montreal-based engine maker says.

P&WC disclosed the new test cycle on the eve of the US Regional Airline Association's (RAA) annual convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Both US and world airlines have overwhelmingly selected P&WC's PW100-series of turboprop engines to power previous generations of turboprop aircraft.

But P&WC is developing the new engine to keep its grip on the regional market, even as General Electric prepares a civil derivative of the GE38 turboprop engine developed under a US Marine Corps helicopter programme.

P&WC says its new engine will "deliver a 20% improvement in fuel burn over today's fleet". The company also is developing the engine and its pylon and nacelle in tandem, as part of an effort to maximise aerodynamic performance.

So far, no airframer has officially launched a 90-seat airliner that could use such an engine. ATR has been discussing offering a new design, but has postponed a final decision at least until next year.