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GE Honda Aero Engines Begins Full Engine Testing of HF120

17 September 2007

HF120 full demonstrator engine with funnel.

GE Honda Aero Engines has begun testing the first full HF120 demonstration engine (including maximum thrust levels) at Honda’s Aircraft Engine R&D Center in Japan. The HF120 is the current engine under development for the light jet HondaJet. (Earlier post.)

The GE Honda HF120 engine was formally launched in October 2006 when it was selected to power both the HondaJet advanced light jet and the Spectrum Aeronautical Freedom business jet. HF120 certification is targeted for 2009, with entry into service on both aircraft scheduled to begin in 2010.

HF 120 turbofan. Click to enlarge.

Over the next five months, GE Honda will conduct an array of tests on several HF120 demonstrator engine builds to verify performance operability, thermal characteristics, and component efficiencies. This full-engine testing follows several months of engine core (hot section) tests on several builds of hardware.

The HF120 test schedule this year is geared to validate significant design enhancements to the engine before full certification testing begins in 2008. Currently, the company is finalizing and releasing hardware for the seven HF120 engines in the certification program.

GE Honda tested the HF120 core (compressor, combustor, high-pressure turbine) this past spring to validate aeromechanical characteristics of the compressor and turbine airfoils. The second core test conducted this summer focused on overall component performance and engine thermal characteristics.

HF120 engine production will begin in 2009 at GE’s Lynn, Massachusetts, facility. Honda Aero Inc. recently announced plans to build an engine production facility in Burlington, North Carolina, which is slated to open for engine deliveries in 2010.

Noise and NOx targets. Click to enlarge.

The HF120 engine, rated at 2,095 pounds of thrust, succeeds Honda’s original HF118 prototype engine, which has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of testing on the ground and in-flight. GE and Honda redesigned the engine for higher thrust, while seeking new standards of performance in terms of fuel efficiency, durability, and low noise and emissions.

The HF120 technologies include:

  • Fan: A wide chord, compound-swept front fan and two-stage booster. The front fan and booster are GE Honda blisk designs with the latest 3D aerodynamic design, the same technology used to design GE’s GEnx engines and Honda’s Formula One experience for lower weight and efficiency. The outlet guide vanes are composite for weight reduction.

  • Compressor: Features a high temperature, titanium impeller developed by Honda over the past 20 years for maximum engine pressure ratio and stall-free performance.

  • Combustor: Based on the Honda HF118-design, it features, compact reverse-flow configuration and single-stage air-blast fuel nozzles. The liner is made of advanced material with laser-drilled, multi-hole cooling.

  • Turbine: For durability, advanced materials are being used, including single-crystal high-pressure (HP) turbine blade materials from the GEnx engine. The low-pressure turbine (LP) is a two-stage configuration. A counter-rotating HP and LP spool shaft system provides further reduction in weight.

A key cost-of-ownership feature of the HF120 will be the ability to operate in service for an industry best-in-class 5,000 hours before the first major overhaul with no need to open the engine for interim hot-section inspections. Keys to this capability are the advanced airfoil materials and coatings that GE and Honda are maturing for the engine's high-pressure turbine section.

In 2004, GE and Honda formed its 50/50 joint company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, near the GE Aviation headquarters. The joint company integrates the resources of GE and Honda Aero, Inc. in Reston, Virginia, a Honda subsidiary established to manage its aviation engine business.

September 17, 2007 in Aviation, Engines | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


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