Pratt & Whitney has completed the first phase of Geared Turbofan (GTF) ground testing, and says the full-scale demonstrator engine’s performance exceeded predictions.

The 30,000lb thrust-class (133kN) GTF demonstrator has completed 130h of sea-level performance and acoustic testing at P&W’s West Palm Beach, Florida test site. The engine will now be fitted with the flight nacelle for Phase 2 testing beginning in April.

Ground tests began in November 2007. “The initial results surpassed our pre-test predictions, demonstrating the fuel burn, noise and emissions characteristics of this new architecture,” says Bob Saia, vice-president, next generation product family.

P&W says Phase 1 testing validated design of the fan, low-pressure combustor, fan drive gearbox and thermal management system. Engine operating temperatures were cooler than predicted, says Saia, which will allow the thermal management system to be optimized to reduce weight.

Phase 2 testing will continue through May and pave the way for the GTF demonstrator to be installed on P&W’s Boeing 747SP flying testbed. Flight tests are scheduled to begin in mid-2008.

The GTF has been selected to power the 70/90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet and 110/130-seat Bombardier CSeries. A launch decision on the MRJ is expected at the end of March, while Bombardier is moving towards a launch decision later this year on the CSeries. If launched, both aircraft are scheduled to enter service in 2013.

Source:'s sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news