Archive For The “General Electric” Category

Turboprop review through 3Q17

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Turboprops have had a good year in 2017.  We take a look at the market and provide some insights to be found in the data.

The turboprop market is big but not as exciting, perhaps, as the single-aisle market.  We can see that the number of parked aircraft has risen from about 9% of the fleet to over 16%.  Does this indicate something odd going on?

Reviewing the parked aircraft we find that they average over 20 years old.  Because of OEM changes, there is another pattern: parked aircraft reflect the state of the OEM’s fleet.  BAe, Embraer, Fairchild/Dornier,  Fokker, and SAAB are all out of this market. Moreover, the number of parked aircraft vary by world region.

Looking at the more recent history, we can see how the departure from the market has impacted the in-service fleet.  Turboprops, despite being workhorses, don’t die easily.  In 2015 the in-service fleet average age was  19.7 years and as of 3Q17, the in-service fleet averaged 19 years.

Taking a look at the in-service fleet as of 3Q17, we find the following.

Asia/Pacific and the EU are the primary markets for turboprops.  North America (combining Canada and the USA) creates the third biggest market. The CIS and the Middle East do not look like promising places to trade.   (Which begs a question about the GE and UEC deal, doesn’t it?) Africa and Latin America look promising though.

These could be exciting times for OEMs though.  The table lists in-service aircraft.  The light blue columns show models no longer in production.  Eventually, even these need to be parked and replaced.

Is there any surprise that Embraer is pondering a comeback?  Looking at the wide range of aircraft sizes that fall into this market, it would seem the focus on 90-seaters may not be the best place to look.  There are literally hundreds (about 43% of the market) of 30-50 seaters that need replacing, and you do not need to make as tough a business case as you do with 90-seaters.

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Premium #250 – Flaking CMCs and Bending Shafts

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GE Aviation at NBAA 2017

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Premium #247 – NBAA 2017 Media Day

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SAFRAN reinvents the open rotor

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Even if we have seen this before many years ago from GE and P&W, it is great to see this technology make a comeback.

The concept is well known; open rotors have a much lower fuel burn, in part because of the tremendous bypass ratio.  Here’s GE’s Unducted Fan engine video.

So what has SAFRAN done that’s different?  Safran says that issues with noise and vibrations have been solved.  Plus they are using new materials, for example, the blades are 3D woven. This makes them lighter and they are solid.  This Open Rotor demonstrator was been developed under the European Clean Sky research program.  SAFRAN claims the architecture of the Open Rotor will reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 30% over the CFM56.

SAFRAN has an open-air rig at Istres where the engine will be tested.

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GE retires P&W powered testbed

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Probably the oldest 747 aircraft in service may be retiring. GE Aviation’s original 747 Flying Test Bed is headed to storage – it flew its last flight on January 25 at GE Aviation’s Flight Test Operation in Victorville, California. Here is the original aircraft.  (Image @Propfreak Collection)

The aircraft has a long history:  47.5 years ago, MSN 19651 rolled out the assembly building in Everett on October 17, 1969.  The aircraft was line number 25.  First flight was with PanAm on March 3, 1970. PanAm flew the aircraft (Clipper Ocean Spray) for 21 years and it accumulated over 86,000 flight hours and 18,000 cycles before GE acquired the aircraft in 1992.

The aircraft was delivered with P&W JT9D engines.  One was removed to test GE engines – the picture shows the GE90 being tested.  There were 11 distinct engine models and 39 engine builds tested.

What a marvelous accomplishment for the Queen of the Skies. GE has a newer 747 as a testbed now as the next image shows.

The new testbed uses GE CF6 engines, so P&W’s role in helping GE are coming to a close.

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