The GE-P&W Engine Alliance is almost ready for the first full engine test of its GP7200 – for the Airbus A380 – that is still on schedule for the end of February 2004.

More than 1,000 people are working on the programme and with the detailed design work virtually completed, suppliers around the globe are shipping hardware.

The coming year will see key validation testing of the GP7200.

The full engine runs and the early stages of certification testing will be followed by the first flights of the GP7200 (the fourth engine to be built) on GE's Boeing 747 flying testbed aircraft.

Certification by the US Federal Aviation Administration and Europe's JAA is targeted for mid-2005, with entry into revenue service powering A380-800 aircraft of Emirates scheduled for 2006 – a year in which the Alliance intends to build 50 engines.

Throughout 2003, the Engine Alliance completed several vital component tests to validate technologies before the assembly of the first full engine. These included:

Swept Fan: A 94% scale wide-chord, hollow-titanium, swept fan completed testing on a modified PW4098 (Boeing 777) engine at P&W's West Palm Beach, Florida, facility to evaluate performance, noise, operability, and aeromechanics. Simulated bird-impact testing was also conducted. The final production fan will have a 116in (295cm) diameter and although the tests revealed some minor issues concerning structural rigidity, these have now been resolved

Full Annular Combustor: High-pressure rig testing of the low-emission single annular combustor was completed at GE's Evendale, Ohio, plant. This showed better-than-expected results for emissions, component temperatures and combustion patterns and also verified re-lights above 30,000ft (9,000m).

Low-Pressure Turbine (LPT) Test: The six-stage GP7200 LPT successfully completed a series of tests at MTU in Germany that evaluated performance and noise reduction enhancements. These will later be incorporated into the full engine. Performance met – or was better than – pre-test predictions.

Compressor Core Test: Two core engine builds have accumulated around 400h of testing to validate performance improvements in the nine-stage high-pressure compressor, consistent with performance commitments to customers. In February 2004, a third GP7200 development core will undergo testing at GE's Evendale facility to validate additional enhancements for the first full engine.

"Component testing has confirmed the goals we set for performance, emissions and noise characteristics," says Lloyd Thompson, president of the

GE-P&W Engine Alliance. "Future regulatory requirements for noise and emissions significantly shaped the design of this engine."


He continues: "I am confident that on Day 1 we will be able run the engine at its full certificated design thrust and that we will be able to show that this power plant will feature industry-leading low maintenance costs and also reduced emissions.

"It will be the most-advanced engine in the portfolios of our parent companies GE and P&W – and with a noise footprint considerably less than that of the B-747, the A380 will also reduce noise pollution around the world's airports."

The GP7200 engine family will be certified at 81,500lb (363kN) of thrust with potential for growth up to 84,000lb. Two thrust ratings will be offered: the GP7270 at 70,000lb for the A380-800, and the GP7277 at 76,500lb.

GP7200 programme planning calls for the type design engine to accumulate more than 20,850 endurance cycles and 7,000h of operation on eight test engines prior to service entry, exceeding standards set by previous ETOPS-qualified engines.

MTU of Germany, Snecma Moteurs of France and Techspace Aero of Belgium are revenue-sharing participants in the GP7200 engine programme.



Testing times ahead: the coming year will see key validation testing for the GE-P&W Engine Alliance GP7200.

Source: Flight Daily News