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July 23, 2024
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Today P&W provided an update on its GTF (PurePower) program.  VP Bob Saia provided this presentation. The charts below come from this presentation.

As one would expect, the key message provided is that this design is a significant improvement over existing turbine layouts. Being shorter, with fewer parts, the engine has distinct advantages. Moreover, the larger fan running at its optimal speed reduce noise and fuel burn while also being able to ensure FOD has less impact.  In addition this engine runs at the same temperatures as current engines – which clearly has an MRO impact because it requires nothing new in terms of exotic lubrication and parts.

This design also lends itself to airlines and the communities they serve. The chart below illustrates P&W’s expected performance. While the data is obviously going to be seen as marketing fluff by some – deviation from these data points in reality would lead to great embarrassment, which P&W cannot allow. Translation – we feel these numbers are realistic – and perhaps even a tad conservative.

The cleaner and quieter engine offers impressive numbers.  No wonder its has developed such a lead in next generation engine orders.  What does the lower sound mean for communities close to an airport?  Take a look at this next chart.

What you see is the sound footprint that is quite amazing. A typical noise footprint extends a long way down the runway and a bit beyond as the airplane climbs out.  As you can see with this chart, the red section (noisiest) is really small – it barely reaches the end of the runway. This chart is using La Guardia in New York as an example. So less noise as promised by P&W is significant and should make neighbors much happier – the GTF certainly looks like a “good neighbor”.

Now let’s look at this engine from an airline’s point of view again using one the slides.  Airlines like being good neighbors but money in the bank gets a lot more attention.  P&W calculate that that the GTF could generate a lot of money for airlines.  What this chart does not mention is the potential for an airline to operate a quieter fleet for more hours of the day – driving up asset use and therefore improving ROI.  Airlines dislike parked planes and the GTF potentially could enable airplanes to work more hours per day because they are going to to make so much less noise, they won’t be subject to airport curfews.

And this is why the engine is proving so popular with airlines. It really offers amazing promise.  Take a look at the next chart – one cannot argue with the fact that despite questions about gears and lubrication, people in the know who have money at risk in the business have endorsed P&W’s vision.  This is now the most popular engine choice out there in its class.

These new airplane programs are all coming to the market with a GTF of some sort. P&W’s engine is able to power all of the despite a wide range in thrust requirements – fulfilling Mr Saia’s statement that the engine is highly flexible in growth terms.

The announcement that PW is examining GTF versions with 100,000 lb. thrust levels for the next generation of wide bodies, after 2020, illustrates that growth and the likely replacement for the venerable PW4000 series.

And what of the risk?  After all, in the end, P&W is offering something new and the airlines avoid risk anyway they can. Take a look at the next chart and see why P&W can demonstrate it can manage any risk. P&W has a very impressive pedigree in aero engines, and certainly as deep a history as its competitors.  The GTF technology is something they understand on a deep level. After all the company builds more turboprop engines than anyone else and each of these is essentially a form of a geared fan.  Which is why four aircraft manufacturers, several leading airlines and a major leasing company have already selected the GTF for their new fleets.  We fully expect the GTF to gain market share as test results continue to show the GTF’s promises are being met.

This really is one very impressive piece of technology.  It may turn out to be the most disruptive new technology in commercial aerospace this decade.

2 thoughts on “An Update on the Pratt & Whitney GTF

  1. GTF is a great product and has the leading edge on technology.
    I’m looking for to the future of our new product.~

  2. This seems like a good idea tho we’ll see how the red gear holds up. Hopefully it will as max tork, rpm occurs only at t/o, falling considerably at cruise. The real proof of the pudding for it and the whole turbine (whole engine) will be utility/industrial/marine applications where continuous full load svc is req’d.
    If things work out for Pratt it loox as tho they might knock GE off their pedestal as the preeminent light duty gas turbine maker.
    I wonder how its efficiency compares to turboprops? Apples to apples comparison?

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