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GE Aviation's turboprop business takes off in 2009

Since GE's acquisition in mid-2008, GE Aviation Czech s.r.o., formerly known as Walter Engines, has been busy --- launching a new engine, being selected to power a new aircraft, receiving a Czech grant and expanding its services and support network.

Eighteen months ago, GE Aviation acquired certain assets of Walter Engines, a Czech Republic-based manufacturer of small turboprop engines and high precision machined parts for the aviation industry. Renamed GE Aviation Czech, the business has made great strides. Among the highlights:

* New facility and test cells: GE Aviation Czech moved to a 135,000 square-foot facility in Prague in earlier 2009. The facility includes CNC machining centers, EDM and NDT capabilities and a new surface-treatment plant. The most recent addition includes three new automated engine test cells for development, certification and serial production acceptance testing of turboprop engines. About 400 employees work at the new facility.

* H80 engine launch: Immediately after the acquisition, GE launched the H80 turboprop engine, which will produce up to 800 shaft horsepower (shp) to power utility, agriculture and business and general aviation aircraft. The H80 engine combines the elegant, robust design of the M601 engine with GE's 3-D aerodynamic design techniques and advanced materials to create a more powerful, fuel-efficient, durable turboprop engine with significantly enhancing hot-day takeoff performance and high-altitude cruise speeds. The H80 engine will also feature an extended service life of 3,600 flight-hours and 6,600 cycles between overhauls. Component testing as well as aeromechanical and performance testing are underway. The first engine to test will begin running in the first quarter of this year with certification expected in mid-2010.

* H80-powered Thrush 510: At EAA 2009 in Oshkosh, Thrush Aircraft selected the H80 engine to power an improved version of its 510-gallon, 10,500-pounds gross weight Thrush aerial applicator (crop duster). The H80-powered Thrush 510 is expected to enter service this summer. At National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) last month, Thrush and GE announced the H80-powered Thrush 510 launch customer, a joint venture between Boschung Global AG and Inter Sinex AG of Switzerland. The venture plans to operate the aircraft in Kazakhstan, which is the world's seventh largest producer of grains and a major exporter of wheat.

* Power 90 and Smyrna Air Center designations: Also announced at Oshkosh, GE Aviation named the Power 90 as the GE Preferred Engine Conversion for the King 90 aircraft and Smyrna Air Center as a GE Designated Engine Installer for the Walter M601E engine on King Air 90 aircraft. Smyrna Air Center of Smyrna, Tennessee, holds the rights to the Power 90 conversion Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). Power 90 is an FAA-approved STC conversion for King Air 90, A90, B90 and C90 aircraft in which the original engines are replaced with the more powerful 751 shaft-horsepower (shp) Walter M601E-11A engines. The E-11A engine delivers faster rates of climb, higher flight levels, faster cruise speed than current engines and lower acquisition and maintenance costs compared with competing conversions.

* Cascade Aircraft Conversions engine purchase agreement: During the NAAA, Cascade Aircraft Conversions signed a formal agreement to purchase M601E-11 and M601D-11 engines from GE for its engine conversion STCs on Thrush and Air Tractor 300, 400 and 500 series aircraft. The engine conversion benefits include lower acquisition and maintenance costs with no fuel nozzles, no hot section inspections, no engine teardown in a wire strike event and improved hot and high performance.

* Premier Turbines repair center designation: GE Aviation also announced at NAAA the selection of Premier Turbines as its Designated Repair Center in North and South Americas for M601 and H80 engines. Premier Turbines will offer heavy repair services, exchange engines and rentals, line replacement unit rotable pools and field service support to all existing and future M601 and H80 engines in the Americas region. GE Aviation will provide the necessary OEM parts to meet Premier Turbines' needs. Premier Turbines will be ready to accept M601 engines for repair in the first quarter of 2010.

* Czech research grant: The Czech Government awarded research grants valued at about $4 million USD (70 million CZK) to GE Aviation Czech. The grants will assist GE Aviation Czech in incorporating advanced technologies into its existing Walter M601 series engines to reshape the landscape of turboprop aviation. These research grants were the first grants GE Aviation has received from the Czech Government.

Press release issued by GE Aviation's Business & General Aviation Turboprops on January 12, 2010


 Contact details from our directory:
Thrush Aircraft, Inc. Airframer
GE Aviation's Business & General Aviation Turboprops Turboprop Engines


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Thrush 510


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