OSHKOSH, Wis. – Brad Mottier, vice president and general manager of GE business and general aviation, says that challenging Pratt & Whitney Canada for its lead in the 1,800 to 2,000 thrust horsepower (thp) turboprop class can’t be done with the existing H80 series engines.

The most powerful H80 series models are rated at 850 shaft horsepower (shp) to ISA+19C, so they only have temperature margins to be uprated at about 1,000 shp with no flat rating. Mottier says the H80 core only can be grown for a modest power increase or for slightly higher flat-rating margins.

Thus, challenging PWC for a share of its lucrative high-end PT6A market will require GE Aviation to develop a clean-sheet centerline core, one with nearly double the capacity of the H80. If GE were to go ahead with such a development program, it would have the potential to challenge PWC as sole supplier for the Beech King Air 350i, Pilatus PC-12NG and TBM900 in the civilian market, as well as the Beech T-6/AT-6, Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and Pilatus PC-21 in the military market. Many insiders at those airframe manufacturers say they would welcome the competition, especially if it would involve introduction of workload-reducing, full-authority digital electronic control systems.

Mottier, speaking at AirVenture here, said that developing FADECs for light turboprop engines is well within GE technical capabilities. But development costs would have to be passed on to consumers in the form of considerably higher prices because of relatively low production rates. It is likely, however, that GE will develop single-channel integrated electronic controls for GA turboprop engines, such as Nextant G90XT. OEM airframers are closely watching the Nextant program to see how its engines perform.