Pratt & Whitney finishes FETT ground tests, juggles schedule

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Ground tests of the first PW1524G geared turbofan prototype for the Bombardier CSeries at the company's West Palm Beach facility are complete, and data confirms the engine "continues to exceed expectations", says Pratt & Whitney (P&W).

The first-engine-to-test (FETT) results are so positive, in fact, that P&W says it has decided to send the second test engine, rather than the third, into flight testing mid-year after ground tests are completed in West Palm Beach this spring.

FETT testing, which totalled nearly 200h of run time since beginning in September, ran several weeks longer than initially planned. "It tested longer than we initially anticipated because it was running well, so we took advantage of that to do as much testing as possible," says a P&W spokeswoman.

P&W says the second PW1524G prototype, which is nearing completion in the company's Connecticut facility, will be shipped to West Palm Beach in "the next couple of weeks" for ground testing there.

 pratt & whitney pw1524g, pratt & whitney/rick koehler

 
   

"Since the test of engine 1 went so well, we advanced the performance engine, which was initially to be engine 3, to engine 2," says the spokeswoman.

Special instrumentation that was slated to be installed in the high-pressure compressor and high-pressure turbine of engine 2 will now instead be installed on number 3, she adds. Engine three will then be tested at P&W's Connecticut site due to the limited number of test stands available in West Palm Beach.

Once engine 2 ground testing is complete in West Palm Beach, the engine will be transferred to P&W's Mirabel Aerospace Centre in Quebec for flight testing on the company's Boeing 747SP test bed beginning mid-year.

Meanwhile the FETT will be shipped to company's new icing and environmental research centre in Manitoba for ice testing, says the spokeswoman.

Engine certification of the 23,300lb thrust (104kN) PW1524G and first flight of the CSeries are both expected in 2012.

Bombardier expects to certify the first CSeries variant, the 110- to 125-seat CS100, in 2013, with first deliveries later that year. Along with the CSeries, the PurePower geared turbofan engine family has been selected for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the Airbus A320neo and the Irkut MC-21.

Regarding the FETT, Pratt's next generation product family vice president, Bob Saia, says "testing has validated overall engine operational characteristics, including component design, rotor dynamic and engine fuel and lubrication systems".