RAA 2011: GE cites ‘strong interest’ in CPX38 turboprop engine

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GE remains actively engaged with manufacturers interested in a 90-seat turboprop platform to support the CPX38 engine.

The CPX38 is based on the GE38 being developed for the Sikorsky CH-53K heavylift helicopter. During the annual RAA convention on 17 May in Nashville, Tennessee GE general manager of small commercial and business aviation engine programmes Chuck Nugent stated GE has run tests on two development GE38 engines to date, and the CPX38 would share a common core with that powerplant.

Nugent cited "strong interest" from airlines around the world for a larger turboprop and "a lot of eagerness from airframers over what we can deliver".

GE is targeting a 15% improvement in fuel consumption with the CPX38, and Nugent says the manufacturer seeks to deliver an integrated propulsion system of the propeller, engine and nacelles. Pratt & Whitney Canada has also highlighted its plan to deliver a similarly integrated system on its next-generation engine currently in development for larger turboprops, and has recently stated it could offer a 20% fuel burn improvement.

Nugent explained GE can support a 2016 service entry for the CPX38, and the company is conducting joint studies with airframers to determine how the engine would perform on a potential aircraft, and "things we can do to optimise the performance of the system".

Speaking to ATI and Flightglobal, Nugent explained GE "wouldn't totally rule out doing something unique", regarding a new turboprop engine. However, he believes the company has an advantage in leveraging the investment in development of the new GE38 to deliver valuable product to the market "very soon".