Pratt & Whitney Canada expects to start flight tests of its PW610F small turbofan for the Eclipse 500 very light jet in August after beginning ground runs on 4 May at its Longueuil, Quebec site where the engine exceeded its 900lb (4kN) take-off thrust rating after only five hours.

The PW610F will be mounted on the company's Boeing 720 for flight tests before the first shipset is delivered to the Eclipse Aviation site in Albuquerque, New Mexico to power the first flight of the production conforming aircraft in the fourth quarter of 2004. The PW610F, along with its stablemate the PW615F for Cessna's Citation Mustang, which flew for the first time on 27 April, are the founding members of what P&WC intends to be a new family of lightweight, low-cost turbofans in the 900-3,000lb-thrust range.

"We expect to sell these engines in great numbers, so we have to get a flawless entry-into-service," says P&WC small turbofans director Maurice Weinberg. He adds: "We've made the engines very simple because they're easier to maintain."

The two engines are "easy to put together" he continues. The diminutive PW610F has a 36.5cm (14.4in) fan diameter, a high pressure (HP) compressor comprising one mixed half axial, half centrifugal stage and one centrifugal stage with single HP and LP turbine stages. The slightly larger PW615F, rated at 1,350lb thrust, has a 40.5cm (16in) diameter "managed shock" fan also made up of similarly shaped integrated bladed rotors.

The PW610F and PW615F test efforts each involve three full-up test engines and additional test cores. The fourth PW610F test engine, a durability powerplant, will be used to run up 100h of continuous operations around July before being used for flight tests the following month. Meanwhile, the first production standard PW615Fs are due to be delivered to Cessna in early 2005, leading to certification in the fourth quarter. Certification of the PW610F for the Eclipse is scheduled for the first quarter of 2006.

Source: Flight International