Aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has completed ground and flight tests on its PurePower PW1000G demonstrator engine with help from the Airbus A340-600 flight-test aircraft.
The joint flight-test programme assessed in-flight performance, engine handling, acoustics and aircraft installation of the demonstrator engine. The final phase of testing followed Pratt & Whitney’s own trials on its Boeing 747SP flying test bed and involved 27 flights and over 75 hours of flight.
Bob Saia, vice president of Pratt & Whitney, said: ‘We were able to complete all flight test objectives with flawless engine operation. The Airbus A340 flight-test programme included engine test evaluations normally conducted for a production engine certification. The PurePower PW1000G demonstrator engine showed the performance and operational benefits of the engine’s unique gear system.’
The PW1000G engine features Pratt & Whitney’s patented Geared Turbofan technology. This technology allows the engine’s fan to operate at a different speed than the low-pressure compressor and turbine providing significant reductions in fuel burn, engine noise, environmental emissions and operating costs.
Saia added: ‘One-of-a-kind demonstrator engines such as this are typically designed to test for approximately 100 hours. It is extraordinary that the PW1000G demonstrator engine completed 406 hours of testing including a total of 120 hours in flight.
‘The engine performed exceptionally throughout the programme, demonstrating both performance and reliability under extremely challenging tests such as high-altitude aircraft flight manoeuvres exceeding two Gs of acceleration force. Thousands of data points taken during this test programme will enable our engineers to optimise the engine as we enter detailed design mid-year.’
In 2007, Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1000G engine was selected to exclusively power the Mitsubishi Regional Jet and the Bombardier CSeries. The completion of the ground and flight-test programme means that Pratt & Whitney can now begin the design of the PurePower PW1000G engine for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet programme, which will begin service in 2013.