Aircraft Maintenance Technology

APR-MAY 2018

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GENERAL AVIATION the compressor, through the hollow mesh oil generated heat to prevent ice crystals to be ingested by the engine. More GE Catalyst engines are being assembled (the parts of the fifth Catalyst were in the final assembly room fine balanced during our visit) with up to 10 this year, which will be tested in the GE Prague test facility in coming months. The first aircraft equipped with the clean-sheet Catalyst engine will be another clean-sheet design for the Cessna Denali scheduled to enter service in 2020. Thanks to Catalyst's dual FADEC system (digital turbine control) this turbine will be much more fuel efficient than existing designs and will give the turboprop pilots jet feel thanks to its single lever control. Thanks to its fully digital architecture — from the birth to resale — this engine will be run much more precise, burning less fuel, keeping the power to higher altitude because it has — first time in this turboprop class — variable stator vanes. The Catalyst will react faster to pilot input because the FADEC digitally controls not only the power but even the propeller pitch which according to Mottier means that full power means full power, or that any selected power will deliver exactly the selected value of available power. Simone Castellani, one of the lead development engineers of the GE Catalyst's digital controls, said that the full authority digital engine and propeller control (FADEPC) will make flying turboprops so easy "my mom could do it. In a way, it is just like flying a scooter. This translates to a simplified cockpit, with a true single-lever operation, and ultimately less pilot workload. According to GE, the Catalyst family of powerplants will have on-condition maintenance — without any hot section inspection — and will have the ability to track exact flying conditions sending the engine flight data after landing to the manufacturer. DIGITAL TWIN Digital twin technology eliminates guesswork from determining the best course of action to service critical physical assets, from engines to power turbines. GE technology digs into any data, following the digital thread that defines its life-cycle. The thread starts with the development of a new jet engine/part, from the design through the build phase. This thread continues into the operation of the asset and its service history — all to predict what will come next, and suggest improvements and optimization throughout the cycle. The digital twin is built on Predix, GE's platform for the Industrial Internet, which enables it to unravel that data and discern what may happen next with an asset, while continuously learning and improving the models. This technology is a natural fit for the aviation industry, where unexpected equipment failure is not an option. In aviation, Mottier told us, for example, GE collects operational parameters of turbines installed on GE's two Honda Jets to predict maintenance and to prevent failures. ABOVE: H Series test bench control panel. Top right: H Series test stand is used to test aerobatic and unusual attitudes of engines. Bottom right: H Series test bench. MARINO BORIC 42 APRIL/MAY 2018 AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY

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