The collective pause the business aviation sector is taking as the economy improves has been less than relaxing for makers of engines on tap for the next tranche of 10,000lb-thrust (44kN), also known as 10k, programmes on the horizon.

"Cessna postponed the Columbus and other projects are taking more time," says Loic Nicolas, general manager for the business aviation market at Snecma. "It's not lost time; it's time to better integrate new requirements from airframers."

Snecma has for several years been marketing its Silvercrest engine for the 10,000-12,000lb-thrust class projects, a powerplant that could be a contender if Cessna decides to revive the Columbus, its largest business jet to date until it was shelved last year.

Areas where airframers are looking for more performance include emissions, noise and specific fuel consumption, says Nicolas. Snecma, through its joint venture work with GE on the CFM programme, is investigating lean burn combustor technologies in place for the Leap X1C programme for the Comac C919 single-aisle jetliner, a technology not in place when Snecma first marketed its engine several years ago.

Nicolas says the company is actively testing modules for other improvements, although he would not elaborate. CFM is investigating a variety of new materials for the Leap X to reduce engine weight and increase durability, including 50/50 titanium-aluminium alloy cast blades for the low-pressure turbine and ceramic matrix composite blades for the core.

Meanwhile, Pratt & Whitney Canada continues to mature its PW800 offering, which had been selected by Cessna for the Columbus. Based on results of core testing, the company says it is "ready today" for a 10,000-20,000lb-thrust class business jet project. The PW800 core is common to the company's higher-thrust PurePower geared turbofan offering for the airline sector.

Honeywell is using the pause to advance technologies on its HTF10000 demonstrator, an engine sized to take on the Columbus-sized market. Baseline technologies for the engine started with the HTF7000 engine for the Challenger 300, and evolved further with the HTF7250G engines for the Gulfstream G250 and the HTF7500E for the Embraer Legacy 450 and 500.

Gulfstream has more than 500h of flight-test time on two G250 prototypes to date, and Honeywell reported the first engine run for the new model for Embraer yesterday. Honeywell's vice-president of marketing and product development, Carl Esposito says the engine will fly on the company's Boeing 757 test aircraft in June.

Like Snecma, Honeywell continues to focus on advanced technologies, including combustors with lower nitrogen oxide emissions.

Not to be left out, Rolls-Royce on 15 April certificated its AE3007A2 for Embraer's Legacy 650, a more capable version of the Legacy 600, delivering two engines to Embraer the next day. The Legacy 600's AE3007A1 engines each deliver 8,100lb of thrust. The company used four engines in the certification campaign, flying the 9,440lb-thrust engines for 500h over the nine-month period.

Rolls-Royce has been quietly working on a new engine for the 10k-class thrust sector based on the RB282-3 turbofan that had been selected by Dassault for its Falcon 50 replacement aircraft. Dassault is in the process of reselecting an engine provider after recompleting the programme.

Source: Flight Daily News