A Salute to the V2500

Possibly the greatest challenge of this era is to get entities that are competitors or have divergent values and philosophies to set aside their differences in order to accomplish something for the common good. I suggest that our industry is often the exception to this observation.

One person who accomplished this seemingly impossible task was Robert “Bob” E. Rosati, a visionary and inspirational leader who could convene people and marshal resources to solve problems in a practical and lasting way. “Bob Rosati was deployed in both World War II and the Korean War where he developed a passion for the reliable Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engines. Bob became dedicated to the P&W engines and joined P&W as a test engineer trainee in 1953. While with P&W he performed in various roles and participated in most of P&W’s engine programs.”

The IAE consortium

About 30 years ago and with Rosati’s leadership, a consortium of companies that included Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Japanese Aero Engine Corporation (JAEC), MTU Aero Engines and FiatAvio collaborated to form International Aero Engines (IAE) and develop an engine for the 150-seat single aisle market. Their strategic goal was to design and deliver a technologically advanced engine that was cleaner, quieter, and more fuel efficient. The result was the V2500, a modularly designed, two-shaft high-bypass turbofan engine.

Getting some of the world’s leading aero engine manufacturers to sign on as stakeholders and further have them agree to each build one of the engine modules, is a display of real collaboration. The genius of the IAE approach was that each company’s engineers could focus on continuously improving their particular module. Today each shareholder still contributes and refines their individual module for the V2500 engine:

• Combustor and high-pressure turbine: Pratt & Whitney

• High-pressure compressor: Pratt & Whitney Aero Engines International

• Fan and low-pressure compressor: JAEC

• Low-pressure turbine: MTU

About half of the new V2500 engines are assembled by Rolls-Royce at the Dahlewitz, Germany, facility and the other half by Pratt & Whitney at its Middletown, CT, facility. When asked about the practices that contributed to IAE’s success, the answers were hard work, experience, trust, respect, and ample communication.

According to Jon Beatty, IAE’s president, “An important part of IAE’s success over the past 30 years is the diversity of its shareholders and their ideas and opinions. Despite the cultural, language, and time differences, IAE and its shareholder companies have learned the nuances of communicating effectively.

“As a multinational company with shareholder companies located in the United States, Japan, Germany, and Switzerland, there is a need to communicate with peers on a daily basis. This is done routinely using web conferencing and teleconferencing and supplemented with face-to-face meetings as needed.” This is a great approach for business operations; however, I was curious about how final technical decisions were made.

According to Beatty, “IAE is the type certificate holder for the V2500 and the IAE vice president of engineering is responsible for approving all engineering changes on the V2500. However, IAE depends heavily on the technical expertise of its shareholder companies.”

A year after signing the collaboration agreement, the V2500 was selected to power the Airbus A320 family and now the V2500-A5 model has “about 50 percent of the A320 orders.” Today there are four V2500 models — the A1, A5, D5, and E5, with thrust ratings ranging from 22,000 to 33,000 pounds. These V2500 models power the Boeing MD-90, the Airbus A320 family, and the Embraer KC-390. Continuous improvements to the product have kept the V2500 technology updated. Finnair recently selected IAE V2533-A5 engines for its five new Airbus A321. The A5 engine operates within ICAO and EU noise limits and with a savings over the competition of about “300 tons of fuel per year per aircraft, helping reduce Finnair’s total carbon foot print.” The selection of the V2500 for Embraer’s KC-390 is another testimony to the continued adaptability and reliability of the engine.

Aftermarket service

IAE also provides the V2500 owners and operators with a comprehensive support package. They have on-call and scheduled maintenance, AOG support, engine leasing, spare parts, and deep technical support through the Global Operations Center (GOC). Located in East Hartford, CT, the GOC provides around the clock support for the full line of P&W and IAE engines, helping customers with all technical, maintenance, and spare parts related problems.

IAE has a network of more than 90 field service representatives located in more than 50 cities worldwide that provide specific in-depth troubleshooting, diagnostics, and maintenance-related support for V2500 engine customers. These service reps are backed up by technical support teams that are IAE’s engine components, systems, and performance engineers. IAE also has a large pool of V2500s (all models) located around the world available for short or long-term leases.

V-Services

About 60 percent of the operating V2500-A5 engines and more than 80 percent of future deliveries are covered by a V-ServicesSM agreement. This is IAE’s menu of services that owners and operators can choose from to match their engine maintenance needs. These service agreements are centrally managed by IAE and give customers continuous engine condition monitoring and timely maintenance. Customers also have access to IAE’s global network of OEM services, maintenance facilities, and spare engine pools. IAE offers customers four primary V-Services options — two for engine maintenance and two leasing and spare options.

One maintenance option is a Fleet Hour Agreement which covers 24/7 on-wing monitoring that reduces flight disruptions caused by unscheduled engine pulls and subsequent shop visits. The other is Fixed Price Maintenance for customers that manage their own fleets and gives their planners more control over scheduling, bills of work, and shop visit cost. For spare coverage, customers can have access to IAE’s emergency lease pool or choose the “pay-as-you-go” option that provides engines during peak periods of engine fleet maintenance without the burden of holding additional spare engines during nonpeak periods.

To complete the support coverage, IAE offers a variety of technical training courses that can be delivered at customer sites or IAE shareholder training centers.

Recognition of a job well done

This year IAE will celebrate 24 years in service with the V2500 and its 30thanniversary as a company. “The prediction is that the V2500 will continue service for at least another 30 years. With the recent IAE collaboration agreement extension to 2045 and the substantial fleet of V2500s in service, this joint venture has secured its standing as a global aviation leader for decades to come,” says Beatty.

Bob Rosati said, “Someone predicted that the IAE consortium would become a case study at the Harvard Business School. I predict it will be a case study in success.” Rosati’s prediction certainly came true. Over the past 30 years, IAE has accomplished virtually every goal it set for itself. To date, more than 5,500 V2500 engines have been delivered and approximately 1,800 more are on backlog, which is equivalent to another four to five years of production. Today, production is at record levels at nearly two engines a day and new orders continue to be placed. Customers are choosing the V2500 for most of the reasons that Rosati predicted.

Having the IAE collaboration operating for 30 years to date and at least for another 30 years is an impressive example of what can be done when diverse groups of people focus on solving problems rather than on their differences.

After a long and successful career, Robert “Bob” E. Rosati retired from P&W in 2004 and on Oct. 24, 2012 at the age of 88, passed away quietly. Bob and IAE, thanks for showing us how leaders can collaborate and get things done for our common good. AMT

 

For a look at the progression of the engine, check out 30 Years of Superior Technology: http://www.i-a-e.com/timeline.pdf.

Charles Chandler has a Master’s of Science degree in adult and occupational education with a major in human resources development.

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