First Flight For GE H80 Turboprop Engine

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GE Aviation's new H80 turboprop engine has completed its first flight on the Thrush 510G crop duster, the company announced this week. The flight took place Nov. 23, in Albany, Ga. "This is a historic moment, with the Thrush 510G being the first application for the new H80 engine, and the first North American new engine installation for the M601 engine family," said Brad Mottier, general manager of the company's business and general aviation division. The first flight lasted 30 minutes. The aircraft has already logged an additional five hours and has achieved experimental certification from the FAA, the company said.

Engine certification tests continue at the GE Aviation facility in the Czech Republic, with EASA and FAA certification expected in early 2011. The H80 is based on the Walter M601 engine. GE says it has enhanced the design with 3-D aerodynamic design techniques and advanced materials to create a more powerful, fuel-efficient, durable engine, with no recurrent fuel-nozzle inspections and no hot-section inspection. GE says the H80 will last for 3,600 flight hours or 6,600 cycles between overhauls, with better hot-day takeoff performance and high-altitude cruise speeds. The H80 will provide the option of a single- or dual-acting governor, allowing flexibility in propeller selection. It is designed to power business and general aviation, utility and agriculture aircraft.