Detailed design of the Engine Alliance GP7200 is due to start in December, with testing of the first engine set to begin in March 2004. This follows confirmation of the decision to stay with P&W's lighter swept fan design over a composite proposal.

Engine Alliance had to evaluate a GE90-style composite design following a 2000 decision to increase diameter from 2.79m (110in) to 2.94m as part of efforts to meet London QC2 noise targets. "We decided to keep it titanium, so P&W will keep that work," says GE advanced engine programmes general manager Mike Benzakein.

Rig tests on the fan set are expected to start in 2003 and the alliance plans to run up to eight engines in the test programme instead of the usual six. "The GP7000 will have seven, plus one contingency engine," adds Benzakein.

Flight testing on GE's 747-100 testbed is set for September 2004, with engine certification planned for July 2005. The GP7200-powered A380 will enter service with Emirates in October 2004.

Source: Flight International