Turbofan research takes off

Airbus has begun long-term flight test research into engine concepts that feature Pratt & Whitney’s (P&W) patented ‘Geared Turbofan’ (GTF) design.


Airbus has begun long-term flight test research into engine concepts that feature Pratt & Whitney’s (P&W) patented ‘Geared Turbofan’ (GTF) design.



P&W and Airbus are evaluating the PW1000G technology demonstrator engine in A340 flight test aircraft. The trials will take place at a flight testing facility in Toulouse and will focus on the PW1000G’s fuel efficiency, acoustic testing and engine performance.



The GTF design is said to improve noise levels and fuel consumption by allowing the ‘PurePower’ PW1000’s fan to operate at a different speed to the low-pressure compressor and turbine. The design also incorporates increased efficiency, which translates to fewer engine stages and parts for lower weight and maintenance costs.



The trials on the Airbus A340 aircraft follow 12 flights and approximately 43 flight hours on Pratt & Whitney’s 747SP flying test bed. Airbus will be the first aircraft manufacturer to gain flight test results for the PW1000G and these will contribute to the company’s long-term research and development assessment of new engine configurations.


Christian Scherer, Airbus EVP Strategy and Future Programs, said: ‘Airbus is already delivering the world’s most eco-efficient aircraft. Sensitive to our position of being an industry leader, it is imperative to us that we continuously explore all technology developments to achieve our ambitious targets today and in the future’.