H80 Receives FAA Certification
On March 14, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved type certification for GE Aviation’s new H80 engine.
This certification paves the way for the H80 to enter into service, starting with the Thrush 510G. The H80 engine has also been selected to power the Aircraft Industries L-410 commuter aircraft and Technoavia’s newly designed Rysachok aircraft.
The H80 combines the elegant, robust design of the M601 engine with GE’s 3D aerodynamic techniques and advanced materials. The result is a more powerful, fuel-efficient and durable engine with no recurrent fuel nozzle inspections and no hot section inspection. Production ramp-up for the H80 engine is underway at GE Aviation Czech, where the engines are manufactured. GE anticipates producing 70 H80 engines this year and more than 100 engines in 2013. An extensive network of service and support centers is in place to provide support and service to H80 customers around the world.
Journey to H80 Certification
GE Aviation’s H80 engine has completed its journey from concept to certification. Paul Theofan, president of GE Aviation’s Business and General Aviation Turboprops, shares his insight on the development process and the future of the H80.
Could you tell us a little about the engine development process?
The development of the H80 engine was about a three-year journey from start to certification, which is actually a fairly condensed process. This enabled us to get the product to market quickly, which was one of our priorities, as there has been strong demand from agriculture and commuter applications.
The certification process for the H80 was also unique for GE because the engine was primarily developed in the Czech Republic, which is regulated by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Therefore, we first sought EASA certification, and then Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification through a validation process. The H80 is the first GE Aviation engine to receive its type certifications in that order.
You just mentioned that the engine was designed by the Czech team with assistance from other teams across the globe. What were the advantages of having an internationally designed engine?
The U.S. team provided advanced knowledge about 3D aerodynamics and high-temperature materials. All the key component machining, assembly and testing was done in the Czech Republic. The Engineering Design Center in Poland provided additional analysis support, making this a truly global team effort. This organizational structure allowed for many different teams to have input on the engine and contribute their expertise.
Now that the engine is certified, what’s next for the H80?
Right now we are focused on ramping up production volume and ensuring that the necessary support is available for H80 customers. Testing of the H80-powered Thrush 501G was completed in March, and the engine’s power and fuel consumption proved to be better than our expectations. We anticipate the first delivery to be in the second quarter of this year.
Our teams have been preparing for entry into service, and we will be ready to support our customers’ needs. Services and support for the H80 will be offered through Authorized Service Centers (ASCs) around the world, as well as through Premier Turbines, our Designated Repair Center (DRC). Additionally, the Prague team is ready to provide service and support, as is the factory-authorized mobile support team. Customer training classes are underway. For those who want to get to know the engine, we offer familiarization courses, and we received Maintenance Training Organization approval in March to provide maintenance type certificate courses for those who plan to maintain the engine. Click here to see our training schedule. Spare parts are currently provisioned at the ASCs in the U.S. and around the world.
What other applications is the engine currently being tested on?
In addition to the Thrush 510G, the H80 engine is being tested on the Aircraft Industries’ L-410 commuter aircraft, which is planned to be launched later this year. The H80 is also set to test on Technoavia’s newly designed Rysachok aircraft, a twin-engine, 10-seat, general aviation aircraft. We continue to discuss other applications and plan to have more announcements in the near future.
Are any H80 derivatives or enhancements planned for the future?
We are developing trend-monitoring capabilities for the H80 that will track data and predict when the engine will need servicing. Methods for extended engine life are also being tested. These new features should be available to customers next year. We are also exploring options in both lower and higher power ranges where we believe there is interest.
At our last visit to Aeromecanic, we spoke with Philippe Ardouin, Sales and Flight Operations Manager, regarding its decision to purchase GE Aviation’s H80-powered King Air conversions.
What attracted you to a King Air conversion?
“Aeromecanic has made its mark by focusing on special services and standing out from the regular flow in aviation. When everyone says, ‘This turbine is the most common and reliable you can find,’ we immediately think there is probably something else on the market with better value that we can push forward, and that's exactly what we’ve done on turboprops. We took up the challenge for H80-powered King Air since we were taken by the engine’s history and its reputation as a well-designed, rugged turboprop.”
“We have had an interest for quite a while in the Supplementary Type Certificate (STC) owned by Smyrna Air Center called the Power 90 conversion. The STC is based on a regular Beechcraft A90 to C90 airframe with two M601E engines. This conversion gives the King Air a new life, featuring auto-start, more power, better climb and faster cruise.”
“One of our customers is currently flying a Power 90 in Europe. As we are now a GE Authorized Service Center for the M601 and H80, we are fully involved in his operations. The last time the customer visited, I asked him how his experience has been as a Power 90 operator. His exact words were, ‘It is awesome!’ He continued to rave about how quiet it is for his passengers, and about the ease of operation. He said he can start and operate in any condition, and has not experienced any issues.”
Air Fast Congo
After looking at the King Air with the M601 conversion and future prospects for H80 upgrading, some L-410 operators are considering upgrading their fleet to H80-powered aircraft. We spoke to Air Fast Congo about why it is considering converting its fleet to the H80-powered L-410 aircraft.
“You must understand the conditions in which we operate in order to see the benefits of an H80 investment,” said Patrick Foppiani, Operations Director at Air Fast Congo. “Our operations take place in high temperatures and high altitudes. The Democratic Republic of Congo has average high temperatures between 25° and 31° C (77° to 88° F), and elevation of more than 1,200 meters (3,937 feet). That’s where we fly. That’s where we need performance.”
“In these conditions, the current L-410 engines do not produce enough power for us to make use of the entire space or weight that would normally be allowed by L-410s,” explained Ludovic DeMoura, Operations Manager at Air Fast Congo. “The ITT troubles we face today are the main reason for us to consider converting to GE’s new H80 turboprop, which was designed for warm environments like ours,” said DeMoura.
Beside the hot-day take-off capabilities, Air Fast Congo is also interested in the H80’s high-altitude flight capacities. “The high-altitude flights are complete, and the engine has performed even better than planned,” advised Tomas Benes, a GE Aviation Customer and Product Support Leader based in Prague, Czech Republic.
Additional H80 features include a lengthened time between overhauls, increase in shaft horsepower and improved fuel efficiency. “Now that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifications are complete, we are looking forward to the first STC center obtaining a license to upgrade the L-410 with GE’s new H80 turboprop,” concluded De Moura.
Improvements to the L-410
Later this year, the much-anticipated Aircraft Industries’ L-410 NG will be released on the market. In addition to the new H80 engine, the aircraft will have several improvements to the body and wings. These improvements provide the aircraft with lower fuel consumption, increased time-on-wing and a longer flight range.
The L-410 NG will include a new design for a third of its components. The wings are a semi-monocoque structure made from milled panels, constructed according to the damage tolerance principle and designed to prolong the life of the plane. The fuel tank has a capacity of 4,400 pounds (2,000 kilograms), more than twice as much as the current aircraft. The propeller on the new version is designed to be lighter, quieter and have increased speed. The fuselage has been altered, doubling the size of cargo space, while the aircraft maintains the capability of carrying 19 passengers.
The H80 engine enables the L-410 NG to achieve a higher speed, from the current 240 mph (385 km/h) to 267 mph (430km/h). The aircraft will also have a longer flight range, from 808 miles (1,300 kilometers) to 1,490 miles (2,400 kilometers). The H80 is similar in size and weight to the M601 series that powers the current L-410, but the H80 offers longer time-on-wing and improved fuel efficiency. The maximum take-off power has been increased to 800 shp, and GE has committed to 3,600 hours for time between overhauls. The H80 provides the power through its increased efficiency and modern technology that matches the impressive redesign of the L-410.
Training for Turboprops:
Maintenance Training Organization Approval for H80
Need training for your M601 or H80 engine? GE Aviation’s Customer Technical Education Center (CTEC), based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is hosting training sessions on GE’s H80 and M601 engines. Additionally, the Prague factory in the Czech Republic has received its Maintenance Training Organizational approval.
In March, M601 and H80 line maintenance training was held at Cutter Aviation in Phoenix, Arizona. Cutter Aviation is one of the newest Authorized Service Centers for the M601 and H80 engines with five locations across the Southwest U.S. This training class included engine theory, familiarization, line maintenance and borescope procedures. GE Aviation regularly hosts training classes in locations across the U.S., in the GE Aviation Czech factory in Prague and occasionally in other regions of the world.
These training courses are open to all of our customers. If you are interested in having a session in your area, please contact Zsuzsanna Papdi at email@example.com.
H80 – Ready for Production!
Receiving European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates marks the beginning of production ramp-up. We asked Jan Čap, Plant Manager at GE Aviation’s Turboprop facility in Prague, to provide insight into the preparation.
“We have redesigned the entire H80 assembly line to enable us to meet production requirements,” said Čap. “The team, led by Six Sigma Black Belt David Svoboda, organized a Lean Event to modernize the assembly floor. They created a production assembly line in lieu of the previous cell-based structure. We’ve now established workstations and have dedicated tooling to facilitate the assembly at those points. Additionally, material flow has been subjected to tight control through the implementation of visual management. We now see a red flag any time we are running low on material. Finally, we’ve implemented ‘5S techniques’ for our tooling, and c-part management has been solved through kitting.”
“The employees plan further enhancements for material movements. We initially targeted an identified waste point with an objective to reduce turn time by more than 50%. The team achieved the reduction in the first step of the process and plans to follow the engine through the shop until they reach our goal.”
“All this will support our plan to build 70 H80 engines this year and more than 100 engines in 2013,” said Čap.
Authorized Service Network Continues to Expand
Aeromecanic, one of the most well-known aviation shops in France, is GE’s newest Authorized Service Center for the M601 and H80 engines.
Aeromecanic will offer comprehensive line maintenance, removals and re-installations of engines and line replacement units; on-wing heavy repairs; and will manage a pool of spare/rental engines. Based in Marseille, France, the company will primarily service the Western Europe and North Africa region. With 24-hour Aircraft-On-Ground service, technicians can reach all parts of Europe in a few hours.
GE Aviation is excited to welcome Aeromecanic to the network of Authorized Service Centers.
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