GE delays Passport engine flight test

Washington DC
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

Bombardier must wait a few more months to see the flight test phase begin for the GE Aviation engine that will power the Global 7000 and 8000 business jets.

GE is delaying first flight of a flying testbed equipped with the 16,000lb-thrust Passport engine by about three or four months to the end of 2014 or early 2015, a company spokesman says.

The delay was caused by a decision to switch the testbed platform. GE Aviation had planned to install the first Passport engine on a newly-acquired Boeing 747-400. Instead, the engine will now be installed on a 747-100, the spokesman says. That means GE needs more time to adapt the engine pylon on the wing of the 747-100 to hold the Passport engine, the spokesman says.

The engine itself remains on track in the development programme, the spokesman says. Six full engines inducted in ground testing so far have accumulated 650h of data, according to the company.

Despite the delay in opening the flight test campaign, GE says the Passport engine will still complete FAR Part 33 certification with the US Federal Aviation Administration in 2015. That keeps the programme on track to meet Bombardier’s target for entry into service of the large cabin Global 7000 in 2016 and the ultra-long-range Global 8000 in 2018.

The Passport engine features several new propulsion technologies that are in ground test for the first time.

One key innovation is the front fan, a 130cm (52in) integrated blade and disk, or blisk. By combining both components into a single piece, GE is able to significantly reduce the area of the hub and increase the airflow capacity of the inlet.

Another innovation is a exhaust cone mixer made using a lightweight, heat-resistant material composed of oxide-oxide ceramic matrix composites instead of metal.

The Passport engine core, meanwhile, is derived from many of the same technologies used to develop the Leap engine, which GE builds in partnership with CFM International joint venture partner Snecma.