The Engine Alliance's GP7200, the best-selling engine on the Airbus A380, is exceeding performance expectations for specific fuel consumption and exhaust gas temperature margin during initial ground testing.

The first GP7200 completed ground testing in April at Pratt & Whitney's test facility in East Hartford, Connecticut. This engine reached 88,000 pounds (391 kN) thrust, exceeding the 70,000 pounds (311 kN) thrust required for entry into service. Altitude testing on this engine is currently under way at the US Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee, to evaluate low-pressure compressor performance and operability.

A second development engine began ground testing in early May at GE's outdoor test facility near Peebles, Ohio. Later this summer, the engine will begin a 700-cycle endurance test to evaluate hardware durability at operating conditions more severe than expected in airline service.

Ground testing on the third development engine will begin in September at Pratt & Whitney's West Palm Beach, Florida, site. But the early tests haven't been all plain sailing, concedes Engine Alliance chief Lloyd Thompson. "During development testing of the second engine we found a distressed blade in the second stage of the high-pressure turbine," he says. "We made a structural modification to stiffen the blade and tested it in the third week of June. That validated the fix, and we will put the redesigned hardware into the other test engines." According to Thompson, the programme is still on course and the slight delay shouldn't threaten the tight schedule.

First flight of the GP7200 on GE's 747 flying testbed aircraft is scheduled for this autumn. Engine certification is targeted for third quarter 2005. First flight on the A380 is set for November 2005, with entry into revenue service powering the Emirates' A380-800 aircraft in October 2006. The GP7200 has been selected for 67 of the 110 A380s ordered with the engines specified. Emirates, Air France, FedEx, and International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) have selected the GP7200 for their A380 fleets, resulting in firm orders for almost 300 units valued at more than $3 billion.


The GP7000 engine family has been tailored to satisfy both the current and future thrust requirements of the A380 family. The GP7200 will initially be certified at 76,500 pounds (340 kN) of thrust.

Subsequent durability endurance testing will be performed to certify the engine at 81,500pounds (363kN) of thrust in early 2006 to accommodate future growth for the A380.

The GP7000 benefits from the ETOPS reliability heritage of the GE90 and PW4000 engine families. Building on the proven GE90 core and the PW4000 low-pressure system, the GP7200 is a refined derivative with an infusion of new, proven technologies.

The GP7200 features hollow-titanium, swept wide-chord fan; a five-stage low-pressure compressor; a nine-stage high-pressure compressor and a two-stage high-pressure turbine scaled from the GE90-115B; a low-emissions single annular combustor that will meet future emissions regulations with substantial margin; and a six-stage low-pressure turbine.

Source: Flight Daily News