GE Aviation says interest in its H80 turboprop engine family has been stronger than expected, leading to a decision to increase production this year to meet customer demand.
The H80, a modernized version of the 1960s-era Walter M601, has been certified on the Thrush 510G agplane, as well as by Aircraft Industries in Europe for Czech-made L410 twin-turboprop re-engined with H80 engines. As those deliveries pick up pace, GE this year will increase production to more than 70 engines.
GE Aviation Czech is manufacturing the H80 engines at its Letnany facility in Prague, where it has more than 400 employees. Though based on an older engine, the H80 engine family incorporates 3-D aerodynamic design techniques and advanced materials to create a fuel-efficient and durable engine with no recurrent fuel nozzle inspections and no hot section inspection. The engines feature a service life of 3,600 flight-hours or 6,600 cycles between overhauls.
The H80 engine has received eight engine type certifications from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia and Uruguay. Certification efforts are underway in China, South Africa and the Philippines.
Last year, GE Aviation launched two H80 derivative engines, the H75 and H85. The H75 is rated at 750 shaft horsepower for takeoff and maximum continuous operation, and the H85 engine is rated at 850 shp. Like the H80 engine, the H75 and H85 engines are aimed at the agricultural, commuter, utility and business turboprop aircraft segments. EASA certified the H75 and H85 engines last year with the FAA type certification anticipated this year.
In November, China’s CAIGA selected GE Aviation’s H85 turboprop engine to power its Primus 150 turboprop single. It will be a five-seat, pressurized turboprop business aircraft with a carbon fiber composite airframe. Flight testing of the Primus 150 is scheduled to begin later this year.