Guy Norris/Indianapolis

US engine manufacturers AlliedSignal and Allison are completing final-design work on the CTP800 turboprop for the Ayres LM200 Loadmaster freighter, following selection of a Hamilton Standard propeller system.

The Loadmaster will be powered by twin CTP800s, a turboprop version of the T800 turboshaft, developed by the jointly held Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC). The twin turboprops will drive the aircraft's single three-bladed propeller through a combining gear- box at a take-off rating of 2,000kW (2,700shp). Hamilton Standard was selected by LHTEC, beating bids from several manufacturers, including Dowty and Hartzell.

LHTEC CTP800-4T programme manager Don Christiansen says that hardware is now being ordered in an effort to meet the programme's "aggressive schedule" . This calls for tests in the second quarter of 1998 of the full engine with the GKN Westland-developed combining gearbox and deliveries of the first production units late in the second quarter of 1999.

Identically configured propulsion systems will be delivered under separate contracts recently signed with express-parcels carrier FedEx, launch customer for the Loadmaster, and with Ayres, the Georgia-based airframe manufacturer. FedEx contracted separately for the propulsion system for the 50 aircraft it holds on firm order, while the other contract covers delivery of complete engines and propellers to the growing numbers of Loadmasters ordered by other customers. Ayres is to begin deliveries in October 1999, with FedEx receiving its first aircraft, the eleventh off the line, in December 1999. Ayres' orderbook stands at 67.

Despite the inherent complexity of combining-gearbox designs, LHTEC is optimistic of a relatively trouble-free development programme. "We've got real confidence in the gearbox," says Christiansen, who adds that, with the involvement of AlliedSignal, Allison and Westland, "-we have got the three best minds in the world working on it".

The team has held preliminary design-review meetings and had initial consultations with the US Federal Aviation Administration over plans for certification.

Source: Flight International