Smokeless General Electric F414 engines are being flight tested by the USNavy in Boeing F/A-18E/Fs. GE says that smokiness observed early in the test programme has been overcome by modifying swirlers near the fuel nozzles to increase airflow to the combustor.

Six engines have been modified for flight testing on three of the seven F/A-18E/F development aircraft now based at NASPatuxent River in Maryland.

GE says that the modification, which results in a configuration close to that in the F404 engine from which the F414 was developed, has been incorporated in production powerplants.

Late in 1997, GE had to modify the F414 after discovery of compressor stator-vane cracking in ground- and flight-test engines. The failure resulted from a design change which has since been reversed.

The USNavy cites the engine problems as examples of issues which have been overcome during flight testing of the F/A-18E/F. Others include wing drop in the landing configuration, which has been cured, says F-18 programme manager Capt James Godwin.

A weapon-separation issue appears to have been overcome by toeing-in the wing pylons, he says, with seven of a planned 27 weapons configurations having been flight tested successfully.

Godwin says that flight-testing of two potential solutions to a manoeuvre wing-drop problem is continuing (Flight International, 21-27 January, P24).o

Source: Flight International