Canadian manufacturer steps back from PW200 growth plan as it strives to identify helicopter market trends

Pratt & Whitney Canada has halted work on the PW209 growth derivative of its PW200 turboshaft family while it re-examines the helicopter engine market. "We have taken a step back, to take a look at market demand in the long term," says P&WC president Alain Bellemare. "We are doing a lot of work with the customers to try to identify where to take the helicopter business next."

The manufacturer has offered the 900shp (670kW) PW209 to power upgraded versions of the Eurocopter EC145 and Sikorsky S-76 medium twins, both now powered by the Turbomeca Arriel. The engine is a growth version of the PW207 turboshaft powering the Bell 427, Kazan Ansat and MH Helicopters MD Explorer light twins.

P&WC has proposed a 500shp variant of the PW200 family, the PW205, to power Bell's planned replacement for the 206 light single-turbine helicopter, launch of which has been delayed. "We need to evolve the PW200, and there are many options," says Bellemare. "We need to find the centre of gravity [of the market], and come up with something over the next year. It could be the PW209."

In the longer term, the company needs a replacement for the 1,000-2,200shp PT6 family. One possibility is a turboshaft derivative of the PW600 small turbofan selected for the Cessna Citation Mustang and Eclipse 500 personal jets. "A year ago the PW600 was a dream," says Bellemare. "Now there is a potentially huge market in terms of volume and dollars." The PW615 for the Mustang will run before the end of the year and the PW610 for the Eclipse in mid-2004.

A PW600 derivative is the most likely replacement for the PT6, which continues to find new turboshaft applications, powering the Bell/Agusta Aerospace AB139 medium twin and BA609 civil tiltrotor. The PT6B-67A is being supplied to China to power the three-engined Changhe Z-8 helicopter and the PT6C-67C will power China's CHM medium helicopter now under development.

Source: Flight International