GE’s Catalyst demonstrates new advancements for turboprops

In April, a GE Catalyst, equipped with a new 105-inch composite McCauley propeller, ran at full power and max RPM at the Czech Technical University’s new test cell in Prague.

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GENEVA – GE’s Catalyst, the first new, clean-sheet turboprop developed for the business and general aviation market in more than 30 years, is demonstrating new advancements in testing. In April, a GE Catalyst, equipped with a new 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.

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.

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.

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.”

For more information on GE Catalyst, please visit https://www.geaviation.com/bga/engines/ge-catalyst.

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