GE Catalyst Completes First Flight


GE Aviation announced that the new Catalyst turboprop engine successfully completed its first flight on Thursday. The flight, which took off and landed at Germany’s Berlin Airport, lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes and used a Beechcraft King Air Flying Test Bed. According to GE, its 16 Catalyst test engines have accumulated more than 2,600 hours of operation in ground tests and completed four certification tests to date.

“The first flight was very successful. I must say, everything went flawlessly,” said GE Aviation chief test pilot Sigismond Monnet. “We actually flew longer than planned, and the engine performed as we expected. I look forward to proceeding with the flight test campaign and expanding the Catalyst’s flight envelope.”

GE also reported that it has delivered an engine to Catalyst launch customer Textron Aviation for the company’s single-engine Beechcraft Denali prototype. The Catalyst engine is a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) controlled turboprop designed for the 850 -1600 SHP range. Built with 3D printed components, the engine features a 16:1 overall pressure ratio.

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. what I want to know is what the price is relative to the PT-6. Supposedly this is cheaper to manufacture than the PT-6 because of the 3D printing but I have never seen even a suggested price. of course finding prices for new PT-6s’ is a bit difficult

    • Versus a new engine, from a proven company, with outstanding engine service? And, if GE’s numbers are correct, ten percent better fuel efficiency? And an 850 to 1600 SHP range? It was GE announcing that their new (and late) Catalyst would be FADEC that got P&W to finally put FADEC in select few PT6 installations.
      New engines don’t scare off customers, look at the success of the CFM [GE/Safran JV] LEAP-1B engine.
      Cost will be the determining factor, to be sure; it can likely be a little higher than a PT6 and still make it, but not much higher.

    • Agree with Glen Towler. Pt6’s have a proven track record unmatched by any other power plant. It may be old technology but it works, and works. . . My first aviation employer flies C208B’s with an overhaul time allowed by Pratt of 6000hrs with one HSI and electronic monitoring. I know Garrett’s/Honeywell can go longer and burn less fuel but the sales numbers speak for themselves.

    • Correct and very interesting how the airport developed. The new airport was built right next to the old one and was supposed to merge in 2011. I flew into Schönefeld several times over the past 5 years and taxied past the new empty Brandenburg terminal that was finished and operational but idle and unused for 9 years due to engineering flaws. The locals called it “Germany’s shame”. Good article on Wiki.