Karen Walker

Pratt & Whitney will unveil details tomorrow of its new PW8000 geared turbofan, the engine which it says will "-change the rules of the game."

P&W has made the unusual decision to launch the PW8000 without a customer. But company president Karl Krapek says it is time to move.

"The time has come and we are happy to launch this thing," Krapek says. "It's not unusual for Pratt & Whitney to move forward at the speed we are without a commitment on a specific aircraft. We did it with the J57, the JT8D and the JT9D - all industry pacing products."

The geared turbofan, he said, "-is the engine technology of the 21st century."

The company faces a steep challenge, however. With the PW8000, it hopes to regain a foothold in the narrowbody market, which is now dominated by CFM International and the CFM56.

P&W is banking on this new powerplant's being attractive for a next-generation wave of narrowbodies, including transcontinental versions of the Airbus A319/A320/A321 and aircraft beyond the Boeing 737.


Krapek says the company is talking to Boeing about possible flight testing.

The 30-month development programme will cost $400 million. P&W says it will resolve the issue of possible partners later, but feels it is more important to get the programme launched first.

The 25,000-35,000lb (111-155kN) thrust engine could enter service as early as 2002, says P&W.

Unlike conventional jet engines, the PW8000 uses a gearbox, enabling the fan and low spool to operate at different speeds for increased efficiency. The fan will be driven by a derivative of the PW6000 turbofan.

P&W has been working on geared-fan technology for some 12 years and considers this programme low-risk technologically.

P&W says the engine will reduce operating costs by around 10% a year - around $600,000 for a typical aircraft.It is also expected to offer a 9% fuel-burn reduction, a noice-level cut of 30dB and increased reliability.

* Face the facts with Karl Krapek - Page 22

Source: Flight Daily News