The GE 80 turboprop engine added to its growing list of type certifications this week and further signaled its global appeal by gaining approval from both the Brazilian Civil Aviation agency and the Argentine aviation authority.
The 800-sph GE H80 is based on the 650 hp Walter M601 engine, a powerhouse that has been in existence for more than 30 years. Through the use of new materials and 3-D design methods, GE says it has turned the original Czech design into a more robust, fuel efficient engine that requires less maintenance.
The H80 is poised to compete with the Honeywell TPE-331 as well as the widely popular Pratt & Whitney PT-6, which has long held a monopoly on the light turboprop market.
The GE H80 will first see service with the Thrush 510G crop duster, which made its maiden flight with the new engine in late 2010. The H80 will also be offered on the Czech-built L410, and certification of an H80-powered King Air C90 is also in the works.
GE reps say they expect to produce 70 H80 engines – to be built at the company’s Czech facility – this year.