Honeywell Engine Development Continues

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With all the new airframes being developed, certificated and delivered, one might wonder about powerplant development. Almost on cue, Honeywell this month updated the industry on its development of two new engines, the HTS900 turboshaft designed for helicopters and the TFE731-50 turbofan, for jets. Both updates occurred in conjunction with the EBACE bizjet show in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the company, the HTS900 is a dual-channel, full authority digital engine control (FADEC) powerplant of 925 shp, achieving all designed power specifications. The engine is expected to deliver specific fuel consumption levels of .54 lb per shaft horsepower or a 5-percent decrease from earlier Honeywell helicopter engines. Customers will have their choice of two engine output shaft speeds, a 6,317 rpm version or a 9,598 rpm version, for either single- or twin-engine applications. Official certification is expected by mid-2006. The company said a second copy of the model has joined the certification-testing program. Meanwhile, the new TFE 731-50 turbofan engine has begun flight tests on Honeywell’s Falcon 20 test-bed aircraft. The engine has accumulated 26 flight hours and nearly 100 hours of cumulative run time as of mid-May; the company says its program is on schedule to meet a 2006 certification and that engine testing will continue through a series of flight tests to verify and validate altitude performance and operability. The engine is designed to deliver up to 5,000 pounds of takeoff thrust and will be offered with integrated nacelle and thrust reverser systems. The TFE731-50 is a "low-risk derivative of the current –60 production engine," according to Honeywell. The TFE731-50 utilizes an N1 Digital Electronic Engine Control with hydromechanical backup as well as improved designs of the compressor vanes and blades for better cooling effectiveness. With respect to the HTS900, “Honeywell is expanding its commitment in rotor-powered aircraft with an engine we believe will deliver the reliability and low cost of ownership our customers have come to expect,” said Barry Eccleston, vice president and general manager, Propulsion Systems Enterprise, Honeywell Engines Systems & Service. “Based upon proven capabilities, the HTS900 is expected to deliver superior reliability with unscheduled engine mean-time between removal of more than 4,000 flight hours,” he added.