High-tech sensors and systems may not be the only way to monitor engine health. Pratt & Whitney Canada has embarked on a project called Oil Analysis Technology, applying it first to the PT6A engine. But Program Manager Frederique Richard says the approach may have much wider applications.
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The Vultee Aircraft Corp. BT-13 “Valiant” was a single-engine, tandem-seat trainer produced for the U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Navy and foreign allies prior to and during World War II. The aircraft was selected and produced as a primary and follow-on intermediary trainer due to its ruggedness, forgiving flight characteristics and stability. Most of the pilots produced in the early years of World War II conducted initial training, or Basic Training, hence the BT name, on the BT-13.
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The view from the Quest Kodiak’s cockpit seems odd and mildly unnerving, although it’s precisely the kind of situation the rugged short-takeoff-and-landing airplane is built for.
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Seven remarkable Lockheed Model 12s showed up for their diamond jubilee.
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Please allow me to offer some information in regard to Pratt & Whitney R-1340 & R-985 engine Time Before Overhaul intervals (TBO’s) for engines utilized on current agricultural aircraft. A letter from Pratt & Whitney (P&W) faxed to the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) dated February 13, 1990 is useful in understanding the organization’s corporate position on the radial engine.
“Pratt & Whitney have no company or F.A.A approved methods for providing any engineering substantiation or manual/publication revision relating to new methods or procedures which are being accomplished by operators and overhaul shops on Pratt & Whitney reciprocating engines.”
This letter establishes a, “hands off” attitude on P&W’s part concerning the Reciprocating Radial engines. Oil consumption is a major issue and is addressed in a cautionary statement constituting part of the P&W TBO considerations given in the R-1340 & R-985 overhaul manual (part number 123440).
“Oil consumption is usually one of the best indications as to whether or not the engine requires overhaul, provided the engine is performing normally and there is no indication of possible trouble or irregularities requiring more than normal line maintenance attention. A sudden increase of oil consumption or a gradual increase of oil consumption to double that which has previously been average, is usually case for overhaul.”
The engine’s primary accessories (Carburetor, Fuel pump, Magnetos, Starter, Propeller Governor, and Generator) are designed to run to engine TBO. It is our recommendation that they be overhauled at the same TSO as the engine. Ref: AC65-12A Chapter 10 Page 411 Par. Major Overhaul Our basic TBO recommendations are 1000 to 1400 hours operating time since overhaul. In order to determine this “recommended” Time Before Overhaul we have taken into consideration all forms of Agricultural utilization of the R-1340 & R-985 engine and have averaged the operating time between overhauls of engines submitted to us for overhaul over the last 25 years.
It must be noted that there is an Airworthiness Directive 68-09-01 issued to the R-985 engine. It is concerning Crankshaft flyweights and flyweight liner replacement. This AD mandates that it be accomplished at 1200 or 1600 hrs depending on propeller installation. In order to accomplish this, the engine must be disassembled to the point it is more economically feasible to overhaul than to limit to repair and replacement only. This Time Before Overhaul recommendation is made with the assumption that all manufacturers’ recommended/required periodic inspections are complied with in a timely manner throughout the life of the engine. This recommendation is not to certify or guarantee that an operator will achieve a specific number of hours operation time before an overhaul is necessary. This TBO recommendation should in no way be considered a maximum TBO limit as it is possible to safely operate an R-1340 & R-985 past 1200 or 1400 hours TSO. It is merely a RECOMMENDATION that, hopefully, will better enable an operator to develop a safe, economic engine overhaul schedule.
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THE PT6 ENGINE MILESTONES
It’s the remarkable story of a remarkable engine. With more than 51,000 engines delivered to power some 130 different applications, the PT6 engine can tell quite a story of creativity and transformation. While we had a lot to choose from, we’ve put together a list of milestones for the engine as we mark its golden anniversary.
1957 – P&WC assembled a team of 12 talented young engineers after studies showed a market opportunity for 500 shp (shaft horsepower) class turboprop engines in the aircraft market then powered by piston engines. P&WC saw an opportunity to channel some of the profits from its piston engine spare parts business towards the development of gas turbine engines smaller than those made by its U.S. parent.
1963 – It’s what our celebration is all about. In December 1963, P&WC shipped the first PT6 production engine, the PT6A-6, to Beech Aircraft Company for its Beech 87, which later became the King Air. The PT6A-6 was a highly innovative gas turbine that represented a significant advance in technology from the traditional piston-driven engines used to power small aircraft. Gas turbines have a higher power to weight ratio than piston engines.
1967 – Piper’s PA-31 Navajo took its first flight powered by PT6A-20s. Piper had enjoyed enormous success building light aircraft since the 1930s, but it took P&WC years of effort to get Piper to adopt turbine engines and move away from their traditional reliance on piston-driven engines.
1968 – P&WC’s ST6L73 engine (a derivative of the PT6A without the gearbox second stage) entered into service as an auxiliary power unit (APU) for the Lockheed L1011 airliner.
1968 – Bell Helicopter placed its initial order for P&WC’s first turboshaft, the PT6T Twin-Pac® engine
1970 – P&WC’s PT6T Twin Pac® entered into service. It is two engines coupled in a single package to power medium-sized, twin-engine helicopters.
1970 – The United States Military ordered 294 Bell 212s under the designation UH-1N equipped with PT6T Twin-Pac® turboshaft engines. Delivery also began in 1970.
1973 – The second-stage power turbine was introduced on the PT6A-41. This was a step change in engine power and efficiency.
1979 – An Air Tractor agricultural aircraft is powered by a PT6A engine and flies to the National Agricultural Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas – the first time such a combination was displayed in public.
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Turbine Conversions, Ltd. and Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) have signed a long-term contract for the sale of PT6A-21 engines to power the recently announced Cessna 206 turbine conversion. P&WC is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
Turbine Conversions has been converting aircraft using P&WC engines since 1990, but company president Bill Hatfield first encountered the PT6 engine when he installed a PT6A-34AG engine in his Grumman Ag Cat in 1975.
Bill Hatfield, of Turbine Conversions, one of Covington’s customers, continues to operate the #3 produced Turbo Cat he installed himself in 1978. The first Turbo Cat conversion to be produced in 20 years was installed on a PT6A-15AG during the summer of 2011 at the Covington Aircraft facility in Oklahoma.
“I still fly my Grumman Ag Cat, and that PT6A-34AG engine continues to serve me well after more than 40 years,” said Hatfield, one of the most respected and well-known pioneers of the agricultural industry. “The relationships I have built with P&WC employees over the years have likewise endured and helped empower our business and those of our own clients. We are delighted to have struck yet another arrangement with P&WC to power our Cessna 206 conversion.”
“Turbine Conversions has consistently demonstrated its understanding of the factors that drive successful conversion programs,” said Denis Parisien, vice-president, General Aviation, P&WC. “With the 206 turbine conversion program, our PT6A-21 engines will replace piston engines so operators of the converted aircraft will benefit from a considerable increase in power, better hot and high performance and a TBO [time between overhaul] of 3,600 hours. Combined with that is our OEM [original equipment manufacturer] warranty and a global customer support network that is second to none.”
The PT6A engine boasts powerful performance and unmatched versatility. PT6 technology has powered 125 different applications since its introduction. More than 46,000 PT6 engines have been manufactured, with 23,000 now in service. The engine has logged more than 375 million flight hours.
“Anyone can say they’re the best; we have the numbers to prove it,” said Parisien. “It’s more than an engine. The PT6A engine offers the best of both worlds: Its proven technology is built upon a remarkable body of engineering achievement that has written new chapters in aviation history in collaboration with our customers, and it’s also this technology that continues to make new aircraft applications possible. We’re already moving on to the next innovation.”
The PT6A engine’s flexible architecture and modular reverse-flow design simplify installation in both single- and twin-engine installations as well as tractor and pusher propeller configurations. Simple on-wing maintenance is possible for most tasks, whereas other engines might need a shop visit.
H/T Skies Magazine.
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Beechcraft today announced the introduction of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67A engines to boost performance for its King Air 350HW and 350ER twin turboprops. The Textron subsidiary also is now offering an increased maximum takeoff weight of 17,500 pounds for the two models.
Both modifications are now approved by the U.S. FAA and EASA and are available as factory options for new aircraft, or as retrofits. The work can be done by any of Textron’s 19 company-owned authorized service centers.
“The King Air 350 platform is renowned as a worldwide mission enabler and these optional enhancements will offer customers added performance and payload for special mission operations,” said Bob Gibbs, Beechcraft’s vice president of special mission aircraft. “We have successfully modified a fleet of NATO air force-operated King Air 350ER aircraft with these upgrades, and we are excited to offer these options to provide more value to our special mission customers.”
The more powerful PT6A-67A engines provide superior takeoff and climb performance, including hot and high operations. With an outside air temperature of 50-deg C (122-deg F), the engine upgrade allows for a maximum takeoff gross weight increase of up to 2,700 pounds at sea level, compared to the standard aircraft. The increased gross weight option provides operators greater flexibility between payload and fuel, representing a potential increase in loiter time of two to three hours.
The 350HW is the heavyweight version of the King Air 350, providing increased load-carrying capability thanks to its larger and stronger main landing gear struts, wheels, tires and brakes. The 350ER is the extended-range version with more fuel capacity through the addition of low drag metal fuel tanks aft of the powerplant. With NBAAIFR fuel reserves, its max ferry range is 2,690 nautical miles (4,982 kilometers), and it can also offer an endurance time of 12 hours for surveillance missions.
Beechcraft (Stand A21) also is promoting its Grand Caravan turboprop single for special missions work, billing it as a sound value proposition for a variety of operators thanks to its low operating and acquisition costs. “In the Middle East at large we [Textron] have nearly 150 [Citation] business jets and 160 turboprops, and about half of the turboprops are being used for special missions work, including surveillance,” Gibbs told AIN.
The Caravan can carry between 10 and 12 passengers or a mix of equipment for multi-role operations including medical evacuation. It offers range of up to around 1,000 nm (1,852 km).
“The aircraft is very maintainable; with no pressurization or hydraulics, it is a very simple aircraft and has a low fuel burn of around 65 gallons per hour at cruise. That’s about one-fifth of [the fuel burn] of a light helicopter,” Gibbs explained. “The basic aircraft, which has an endurance of around six to seven hours on station, costs under $3 million, or between $4 million and $6 million equipped.
Both the Caravan and the King Air 350 can operate from rough strips. The examples on display here at the MEBAA show are the Grand Caravan EX model and the King Air 350i.