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Pratt & Whitney's GTF geared turbofan runs at full thrust

Pratt & Whitney's GTF geared turbofan demonstrator engine has achieved full thrust during its first series of ground runs on an outdoor test stand in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The engine reached its full 30,000lb (134kN) take-off thrust, the fan drive gear system transmitting some 30,000shp (2,500kW) of power from the low-pressure turbine to the 80in-diameter (2.03m) swept fan.

The GTF uses a 3:1 reduction gearbox to allow use of a larger, slower-turning fan that reduces fuel burn and noise while enabling the low-pressure compressor and turbine to run at higher, more efficient speeds.

Compared with current turbofans of equivalent thrust, P&W says the GTF offers a 12% lower specific fuel consumption and a reduction in noise to a cumulative 20dB below Stage 4 limits.

The GTF has been selected to power the 70/90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet and 110/130-seat Bombardier CSeries. Launch decisions on both aircraft are expected next year, leading to engine certification in 2011 and entry into service in 2013.

                                             © Pratt & Whitney

Ground runs began in mid-November and the engine is "performing flawlessly" in initial tests, says Bob Saia, vice-president, next generation product family. After reaching full take-off power, P&W has begun a series of tests to validate the GTF's "game-changing" performance, he says, including fuel burn, noise and emissions.

Ground testing is to continue through to May 2008, when the GTF demonstrator will be installed on P&W's Boieng 747 engine testbed for flight testing.

Read more about the GTF in Flight International's Civil Engines special issue.

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