Yesterday at RAA, P&WC released information on their latest engine development. They have successfully completed Phase 2 testing of the Next Generation Regional Turboprop (NGRT) engine and are poised for rapid integration development. This phase has allowed P&WC to expand the design envelope ensuring the company has a fully optimized NGRT engine core.
P&WC’s NGRT is a proactive response to airframe OEMs foreseeing a 90-seat turboprop within the next few years. P&WC developed a high pressure ratio compressor that contributes to the powerplant’s ability to deliver 20% better specific fuel consumption and power from 4,500shp to 8,000shp. “Today, the vast majority of 30- to 70-passenger regional turboprop aircraft operating around the world are powered by the PW100 engine,” Frederic Lefebvre, Vice-President, Marketing, P&WC, said. “It’s a legacy of which we’re obviously very proud, and one which has spurred us on to be ready when the larger 90-passenger turboprops enter the market. We not only remain committed to providing our customers with the latest enhancements and benefits on our PW100 and PW150 series of engines, we are also moving beyond that with the NGRT and will be first off the mark to fill that need with proven technologies.”
We asked Frederic Lefebvre some questions:
YOU DEVELOPED THE ENGINE FOR THE 90-SEATER MARKET. WHEN DO YOU SEE THIS MARKET GETTING STARTED – WITH NEW DESIGNS AS OPPOSED TO CURRENT AIRCRAFT?
- We are ready. We are currently in discussions with all of our aircraft OEM customers to ensure our engine will meet their needs.
- P&WC’s NGRT is a totally new center line engine that will deliver more than 20% improvement in fuel efficiency over today’s fleet and double-digit reduction in maintenance costs.
- We are a leader in the industry for the next generation of turboprop engines to power regional aviation.
- Our NGRT is now poised for quick entry into service based on extensive testing, especially its revolutionary new compressor.
WHAT DOES P&WC SEE AS THE SIZE FOR SUCH AN AIRCRAFT OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS? AND WHERE IN THE WORLD SHOULD WE EXPECT TO SEE MOST OPPORTUNITIES?
- The NGRT will be scalable, meaning we intend to create a new family of engines that will cover the 4,500 to 8,000 shp envelope that will easily put it into the 90-seat aircraft range, a segment we believe will see strong demand over the coming decade and beyond.
- There is no specific region of the world where the potential of introducing a 90 pax regional turboprop is not possible, for example:
- in the US, there are 400+ shorter routes that could benefit from a larger capacity turboprop aircraft
- In Europe there are many routes that are serviced by larger aircraft. A 90 pax regional turboprop could now be introduced and be more cost effective.
- The growing capacity in Asia Pacific would also benefit of a 90 pax regional turboprop
THE CURRENT TURBOPROP MARKET ESSENTIALLY PITS THE LOW COST ATR AGAINST THE HIGH PERFORMANCE Q400 – BOTH POWERED BY P&WC. THIS NEW NGRT SEEMS TO FAVOR THE HIGH PERFORMANCE SEGMENT, IS THAT A FAIR REFLECTION?
- The NGRT will be scalable, meaning we intend to create a new family of engines that will cover the 4,500 to 8,000 shp envelope that will easily put it into the 90-seat aircraft range, that will deliver significant improvements in performance, fuel efficiency and reliability, ensuring that we are able to respond to the full requirements of the regional aviation segment.
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This is probably the only segment where PWC is the market leader and a rather popular one at that. Thus it has good reasons to defend this position.
There are a number of applications, however the PW119 on the Do328 and the PW150 on the Dash8 have demonstrated a superior reliability, also the PW127 on the ATR even if the aircraft appears to be constantly under-powered.
It is reassuring to see that PWC does not rest on these laurels.
With a 60% power increase, the Q400 which is already extremely powerful would become a rocket. For a company like Porter Airlines that operate on the small runway of Toronto Island that is good news. If BBD can also stretch the Q400 to make it a real 90-seater, then Porter Airlines could manage to go around the Jet Ban at Toronto Island and have some expansion. So my guess would be a Q400-90 announcement at Farnborough with Porter as a launch customer.
I like this. I’d love to see a clean sheet 90-seater with an engine that can move it at speeds in the ballpark of a Q400 but more quietly and even more efficiently.
But Bombardier is probably a decade away from being able to afford such a project under the best of circumstances.
And ATR is confined by Airbus, who seems to see little reason to invest that kind of money in a turboprop.
It seems the most likely scenario is a stretch of either of the current airframes. Yet ATR’s efficiency over speed strategy that has been a winner in the Asian market wouldn’t find much appeal in a 4500 SHP engine. And even for the lesser investment of a stretch, Bombardier needs to wait until the CSeries starts to break even on a cash-flow basis, targeted for 2020, and even then their priority should be the CS500. So I think this engine concept will sit on the drawing board for a while, waiting for a serious customer.
That would be fantastic Andre but unfortunately not likely a this time. The business case might be attractive but a new business model needs to be fashioned in order to best leverage the new trends in commercial aviation; you don’t just sell aircraft and spares anymore, you sell services throughout the full course of the program’s life cycle.
MA700 is a 70+ seat twin turboprop under development by XAC, they will build it (it is a named national priority) and field it. Might be a customer for this engine.
The MA700 doesn’t need that much horsepower. It’s also planned to enter service well before a brand new engine could. I presume it will use the same PW127 as the ATR-72.