General Electric is on track to begin flights tests of the Passport jet engine this summer, as it continues to carve out a growing share of business and general aviation markets, a top executive said yesterday.
The Passport – selected to power the Bombardier Global 7000, which enters service in 2016 – has been making steady progress in ground tests.
Four engines have completed seven testing programmes so far, accumulating 450h on 150 takeoff and landing cycles, says Brad Mottier, vice-president and general manager of business and general aviation (pictured right).
Another engine is being instrumented to be installed on the GE-owned Boeing 747 flying testbed.
Delivering the Passport engine on time – along with the GE Honda Aero Engines HF120 for the HondaJet – is a key element of GE’s strategy to build a $1 billion annual business supporting business and general aviation by 2020, Mottier says.
Aerion’s plan – announced on 19 May – to develop a supersonic version of a current engine also has gained GE’s interest. “Absolutely,” Mottier says, when asked if GE would offer an engine to Aerion. However, Mottier says it is premature to determine which engine should be proposed.
At the moment, GE has no other plans to expand in the business and general aviation sector, where it currently has no presence in the crowded thrust range between 3,500lb-thrust and about 9,000lb-thrust.
“There are a lot of manufacturers in that space. There are a lot of new aircraft that are coming out in that space,” Mottier says. “So we have deliberately said we are not going to place an engine in that mid-class at this time. The other guys can go
fight it out.”