Aircraft Maintenance Technology

APR-MAY 2018

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Page 36 of 51

10 YEARS OF GE'S TURBOPROP INNOVATION IN EUROPE The activities of GE Aviation in Europe are much wider, deeper, and more important than I previously thought. I learned this from the best possible teacher, Bradley D. Mottier, vice president and general manager, Business & General Aviation & Integrated Systems Manager at GE Aviation. He narrated this fact in a passionate and proud way; he is a former entrepreneur, today's GE team leader, a pilot, and aircraft owner — what a blessing for a listener. From today's perspective it's easy to say that GE Aviation has done all things along this path right, but the path wasn't looking so straight a decade ago. It was mastered by the capable individuals which formed a great team. Thanks to Mottier, himself a catalyst in this GE structure, there was always a leader with a strong commitment and a clear final target. According to him, the beginning of the GE activities in Czech Republic was not an easy one. WALTER ENGINES AS A SMART PURCHASE It began with the acquisition of the Czech turbine manufacturer Walter Engines in 2008. The gem of the former Eastern turbines world was located in Prague and had an EASA certified turboprop powerplant in its portfolio. The mission from the beginning was to build a team, to build a business from virtually nothing requiring self-belief and perseverance. "Better be frugal" was a motto in those days. Acquiring Walter Engines allowed GE to learn the marketplace, gain domain expertise, and learn how those engines are being operated. The initial problems were not the turbine properties but the location of the plant. As the former production terrain was sold by Walter owners, GE had to move the production to today's site. This period was according to Mottier an "unbelievable six months" as they had to relocate each working bench and the overhaul of Walter Engines to a new location and re-building, actually mirroring it on a new location to retain the EASA certification. STRONG HELP BY THE AUTHORITIES In this process, as Mottier highlights it (GE) "was tremendously helped" by a Czech government/Czech invest program which strongly believes in aviation, by EASA and the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT). The Prague University is partnering with GE in development of the new powerplant and shares its acquired data with GE which in turn further develops all their products testing them in its own (certified) test cell. CVUT is today conveniently located, adjacent to the GE Aviation plant; with a new test bench where the first fired Catalyst is now installed. It will stay there for CVUT and GE research activities; a CVUT test bench has already created unexpected benefits: "a huge boost in student numbers which actually exceeds by 500 percent previous year's inscriptions" as per CVUT Professor Michael Valasek. GE IMPROVES THE EFFICIENCY OF EXISTING TURBINES In 2009 GE launched the H80 engine improving the efficiency of the existing powerplant by implementing technological achievements from big commercial engines. GE added new compressor, new blisks, and stators. Doing so and adding in year 2010, the GT blade, the H80 has become 20 percent more powerful and 10 percent more fuel efficient. In Prague at GE Aviation site we could see the new "H" series turbine on the swiveling and tilting test stand which was fitted with a modified oil and lubrication system which will allow aerobatic and inverted flight. This "H aerobatic" engine will power the Austrian Dart 550 military-basic pilot trainer aircraft manufactured by Diamond. BRAD MOTTIER speaks to a group of journalists at the GE Aviation Czech facility. MARINO BORIC MARINO BORIC graduated with a university degree as an aeronautic engineer, and acquired degrees in business development/trade and commerce and in journalism. He is a civil and military pilot and has built experimental aircraft. As a journalist, he specializes in aviation and propulsion and travels worldwide, flight-testing UL, LSA, Experimental, and certified aircraft. He is writing for U.S., European, and Chinese media companies. 37

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