DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky
February 27, 2024
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On a visit to P&W in Hartford on September 8 2011, we noticed something compared to previous visits.  Everyone has a bounce in their step. This company has its mojo back. The GTF is working as well as, maybe better, than even they expected. The outcome caps a 25 year R&D effort and its impact within the firm is simply momentous.  Talk of scaling the GTF technology to bigger engines is open talk.  The difference in core size from the MRJ engine to CS engine is one inch – and to neo is another half inch. The clever things P&W has accomplished on the core will be detailed in a f0llow up post.

We got to visit the plant where the engines are built and we saw a tear down engine from flight test. It looks new – there are still original machining marks on the parts – even after hammering the engine during tests. The P&W team’s confidence is not hubris – they point to the parts and smile.  There lots of smiles at P&W. The P&W tag line for the GTF is “This changes everything”. They’re not kidding – it does.

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10 thoughts on “Pratt & Whitney’s Bob Saia and P&W’s growing confidence

  1. How about irrational exhuberance? Does AirInsight remember the PW6000 HPC debacle that PW was “bailed out” by MTU and the marketing meltdown of that engine. Or how about the PW4000 as the 777 launch engine and program delays and the most recent airworthiness directives on that engine? The true test will be the CSeries narrowbody as their “litmus test” on whether they are a changed company or same-old, same-old. I would hedge that they will drop the ball on CSeries which is their opportunity to get the head start on the LEAP engine. The jury is definitely out on this company that is used to military engines and is presently having F135 problems, moving manufacturing overseas and cutting deals with foreign risk-sharing partners that only further erodes one of America’s last good industries. Their “hubris” was rightfully humbled at the Paris Air Show, having thought they had obliviated CFMI to that point. If I am Airbus,Boeing, Embraer and Gulfstream, I would be cautious of the “bounce in their step.” I found PWs recent preaching to Boeing a result of frustration of the 787 and 737MAX rejections.


    Simply put CFMI has smoother operating “business” types in their company than PW, even though the latter has a better technical engine. My question is can they execute???

    Having dealt with the very, very arrogant Connecticut types, it’s not hubris, but more appropriately for that area…chutzpah!

  2. Certainly do not want to seem overly critical, but for the sake of accuracy PWA is located in the town of East Hartford, not Hartford as is stated in the article. Hartford is a completely different city and is across the Connecticut River from East Hartford. Hartford is the home of PWA parent UTC, but not the home of PWA.

    Otherwise thanks for the article. Glad to hear they are doing well and hopeful of a bright future.

    PWA – Thrust you can trust!


  3. Well, Mr. Leahy, the aero engine industry has been in partnerships longer than I care to remember. Partnerships with overseas companies in many cases, succesful ones at that, both ways. And that goes for all of them. Everyone is in bed with everyone, you might say. And GE too, it has had partners on the CF6 since early eighties, just to give one example. Heck, the CFM56 was created through a partnership…

    Neither PW not GE would have had the money to develop any of their latest engines without international partnership: CFM56, GE90, V2500, PW4000, GEnx, GP7000, PW1000, … the list is endless…

    So, the talk about about one of Americas last good industries is very naive thinking. It has never been the last industry, it has been global longer than most.

  4. P & W has a strong engine with the GTF. The question is will the GTF enjoy the same market dominance the JT8D had in it’s heydays.

    I think not, because CFM will not let P & W do with the GTF what they themselves did to them with the CFM56.

    We don’t know yet what the exact figures will be in terms of fuel burn for the LEAP versus the GTF. But if there is one area where I think the LEAP will never be able to match the GTF it’s the noise footprint. The gear technology allows the fan to turn more slowly and therefore to make less noise. It’s mechanical. It makes the GTF an intrinsically quiet engine.

    If in the future the GTF was to have a decisive advantage over the LEAP in terms of fuel consumption it could then possibly prevail on the market if the maintenance costs are as low as they say they will be.

  5. I welcome P&W redux. However, the engine MUST prove itself in service. Until “one wing performance”, “fuel burn”, and “operating costs” can be accurately assessed, then these academic debates will rage to no (satisfactory) end.

    For example, after three very tough years, the 787 is finally going to EIS. Now we can assess the actual benefits this aircraft brings to its customers. Debating points will be awarded to the winners; the losers will get to reload for the NEO vs MAX contest.

  6. Perhaps you have overlooked the wonderful globalization debacle called the 787 as a more recent “partnership” amongst the risk sharing partners.

    “Neither PW not GE would have had the money to develop any of their latest engines without international partnership: CFM56, GE90, V2500, PW4000, GEnx, GP7000, PW1000, … the list is endless…”

    OK, my response to this statement migrates into politics from business; please be patient. You are conditioned. It’s genesis is from the last few months of the God awful year of 1913 when the illegal Federal Reserve & IRS criminal acts were signed by the degenerate President Woodrow Wilson. Now these acts every year illegally siphon off wealth from the American public that could otherwise be invested into GE or PW via bonds or stocks when these companies need development capital. Most Americans have an extremely difficult time understanding this but it is the truth and if your refute, please investigate my statement on their illegality. In a nutshell, we have been bled dry and the present state of the nation shows it. And yes this is pertinent to your declaration that these companies could not afford the NRE to develop said powerplants.

    “So, the talk about about one of Americas last good industries is very naive thinking. It has never been the last industry, it has been global longer than most.”

    Very naive? I don’t think so after having lived through the decimation of the auto and steel industries. The steel factory my Father worked at employed 21,500 in the day and now has 250. Maintaining an industrial manufacturing base is important.

    Many engine companies and lately airframers are running to China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico and Eastern Europe promoting globalization. What do they get for this? One major engine manufacturer moved turbine blades to Mexico years ago and are now bringing them back and hiring the local firm that taught the Mexicans and eventually lost their jobs doing so. There is a movement (IMHO, by design) to offshore American manufacturing jobs overseas and it’s disgusting at how the whore like politicians do nothing. What I see today are nothing but kool-aid drinkers in the Corporation that will do anything, and I mean anything, to advance. As an excellent VP of Engineering at a engine firm wrote into Aviation Week and said in the late 1990s: “the industry is no longer given direction and led by Engineers, but now by business bean counter types.”

    There is nothing wrong with showing a lot of Nationalism in America instead of the Globalist plank they have the minions walking today.

  7. How about some full disclosure? Did P&W pay for your trip to their plant? The last line of your blog (“They’re not kidding – it does.”) does not sound like balanced reporting to me.

  8. A warning here:

    We do not tolerate getting into political discussions or name calling (the reference above to Wilson); these have no place in an aviation forum.

    The warning has been issued. Any future violation will result in editing out the offending remarks and the possibility of banning the offender.

    Discussion of the merits or perceived merits of any given technology and national policy toward aerospace is fine but tangential issues are not.

    It’s our party and we’ll edit if we want to…..

  9. The GTF has already changed the industry.

    CFM was dominating for 27 yrs, doing just small enhancements. Recently it had to redo their LEAP design to catch up. That’s something new for most of the guys working there.

    I think the real marketing breakthrough for the GTF was Airbus doing their own tests on a A346 and giving it their approval. They were hurt 12 yrs ago by the Pratt offerings for the A318.

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