GE’s Catalyst demonstrating new advancements for turboprops
Catalyst team has completed more than 1,000 hours of testing between three engines
GENEVA – May 20, 2019 – GE’s Catalyst™, the first new, clean-sheet turboprop developed for the Business & General Aviation market in more than 30 years, is demonstrating new advancements in testing that have never been achieved by a competing turboprop in this segment.
In April, a GE Catalyst, equipped with a new, state-of-the-art, 105-inch, composite McCauley propeller, ran at full power and max RPM at the Czech Technical University’s new test cell in Prague. The engine and propeller exercised the pitch system using a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) with integrated propeller control. The full-range pitch testing included beta, fine pitch, course pitch and feather – all integrated and controlled by the FADEC.
“This engine is modernizing the cockpit and flight controls like no other engine has done in this marketplace,” said Brad Mottier, vice president and general manager for GE Aviation business and general aviation & integrated systems. “The FADEC with integrated propeller control dramatically simplifies the workload in the cockpit, offering a single-control, jet-like experience. It controls propeller pitch, speed and torque. It automatically adjusts and optimizes fuel flow and propeller pitch across the entire flight profile. This technology keeps the engine in a safe state, so the pilot doesn’t have to worry about overtorquing or overtemping the engine.”
GE Aviation has more than 900 million hours of FADEC experience on its commercial aircraft engines which offer similar engine safeguards. GE’s Catalyst, the first turboprop in the business and general aviation market to feature a FADEC, will enter service on the new, clean-sheet Cessna Denali for Textron Aviation. Since the first Catalyst engine start in December of 2017, GE’s test fleet of engines has racked up enough hours and cycles to simulate more than three years of operations in the field.*
An international Catalyst team has completed more than 1,000 hours of testing between three engines and 300 hours of testing on the FADEC in Textron Aviation’s iron bird, which is used to validate integration between systems and the Denali aircraft. Initial testing up to 41,000 feet in an altitude chamber was completed in May, validating performance and operability. Tests included chops, bursts and bodies at different points in the envelope, cold-soak starts and auto relight capability.
“The 1,000-plus hours we have across our three test cells are validating that we are meeting and exceeding our requirements and our customer’s requirements,” said GE Aviation Turboprops General Manager Paul Corkery.
GE’s Catalyst currently has 98 patented technologies on the engine. It is the first turboprop engine in its class to introduce two stages of variable stator vanes, cooled high-pressure turbine blades and 3-D printed parts. It performs at an industry-best 16:1 overall pressure ratio, enabling the engine to achieve 10 percent higher cruise power compared to competitor offerings in the same size class.
When installed on the Denali, these engine efficiencies help enable a larger cabin experience with a range of 1,600 nautical miles carrying one pilot and four passengers and a comfortable 6,000-foot cabin altitude at a 31,000-foot maximum cruising altitude.
Five GE Catalyst engines have been assembled with another five engines scheduled to be completed in the second half of this year for certification testing.
“We’re going to do a lot of engineering and certification testing the rest of the year,” said Corkery. “By the end of the year, we’re going to finish and fly our King Air flying test bed which is being constructed in Germany and will be tested in Prague. We are going to retrofit one of the engines out and put in a Catalyst test engine. We’ll complete around 75 hours of flight testing starting in the fall of this year.”
Since the Catalyst was unveiled to the public at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention in November of 2015, GE Aviation has committed more than $400 million in development costs for the program.
For more information on GE Catalyst, visit https://www.geaviation.com/bga/engines/ge-catalyst
For more information on the Cessna Denali, visit https://cessna.txtav.com/en/turboprop/denali
* Simulated 3yrs of operation for average operators in this class
More about GE Aviation
GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit us at www.ge.com/aviation. Follow GE Aviation on Twitter at http://twitter.com/GEAviation and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/GEAviation.
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For further information, contact: Nick Hurm 513.484.4450 [email protected]