GE Tests 3-D Printed Turboprop
GE Aviation announced Thursday it had successfully test run its partially 3-D printed Advanced Turboprop engine, which is set to power the Textron Denali single turboprop. Details of the test were scant in the GE press release but “early indications show that we will meet or exceed all the performance numbers we have quoted for the engine,” said GE spokesman Brad Mottier. “We’re developing a real catalyst for the BGA market and we’re executing on plan. The integration of proven technologies has expedited the design, development and certification cycle of the engine.” The engine is a direct challenge to Pratt & Whitney Canada’s domination of the small-to-medium turboprop engine market and is scalable from 1,000 to 1,600 horsepower.
The engine was developed in concert with the Denali and by the time the new airframe, a direct challenge to the Pilatus PC-12, is ready the engine will have 2,000 test hours. Certification for the engine is planned for 2018 and the Denali is expected to fly by the end of the year. The engine was run at GE’s facility in Prague, Czech Republic. The engine is an outgrowth of GE’s purchase of the former Walter Aircraft Engines two years ago. GE has re-engineered the rugged and dependable design and introduced a lot of advanced manufacturing, including 3-D production of some main components that cut the parts count by more than 800. AVweb Editor-At-Large Paul Bertorelli had a look at the 3-D production of the engine in the following video.