Maintenance of the gearbox for the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan results in roughly a 2% rise in maintenance costs compared with current generation engines, but the manufacturer explains that rise is offset by fuel savings and weight reduction from fewer airfoils in the engine's design, resulting in overall lower maintenace costs.

During a briefing at the ALTA 2009 Airline Leaders Forum P&W director of marketing Paul Finklestein outlined the maintenance sequence for the gear. During the first shop visit only an inspection is required. At the second visit, maintenance of the gearbox includes stripping and recoating.

P&W's geared turbofan design features a 1,500 airfoil reduction in the engine's core and a removal of three stages in the low pressure turbine, which counters the increased costs in maintaining the gearbox, says Finklestein. He explains the "geared architecture is lower in maintenance than a conventional direct drive engine".

The company recently completed demonstrator testing on the engine, confirming targets for reduced fuel, noise and emissions. P&W has advertised a 12:1 bypass ratio for the PW1000G designated to power the Bombardier CSeries, which should result in a decrease in fuel burn of up to 15%.

P&W plans to start core testing of the engine's core sometime this quarter at its test facility in Longueuil, Canada. A core similar to what will eventually be used on the Mitisubishi Regional Jet is targeted for the test.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news